The Millbrae BART/Caltrain connection is a maze of concrete, escalators, ducts, stairs, turnstiles, and ticket machines. The designers did their best with the translucent roofing, but there are too many dark, cold areas. Yes, the station is functional, but the parking lots are mostly empty and traffic is far below expectations.The booming Bay Area economy and the addition of a BART line to San Francisco Airport should have improved Millbrae Station's utilization. However, [bold added]
By now, BART’s Millbrae Station — with its connections to Caltrain, buses and shuttles — was supposed to see 16,500 passengers pass through its fare gates every weekday, making it the fifth-busiest station in the system.One of the problems is that there's little coordination between BART and Caltrain. A passenger trying to get from Oakland to Mountain View would take BART to Millbrae, then often wait more than 30 minutes for the next southbound Caltrain---and that's when both BART and Caltrain are running on time.
But 13 years after it opened, it’s pretty much just another BART station, nowhere near the bustling Peninsula transit hub that planners envisioned. With just under 7,000 riders entering and exiting daily, the station ranks 27th in activity among the transit system’s 46 stations.
BART riders coming from the north and bound for Caltrain arrive on the east side of the station. To catch Caltrain, they have to ascend escalators or stairs, exit through the BART fare gates and walk a few yards across the concourse before descending to the Caltrain station’s west side.When it's not rush hour, the drive would take one hour, and mass transit two. When Millbrae Station opened, a round-trip BART fare from Millbrae to San Francisco was less than $5. Parking was free, an obvious inducement to try the new station.
Now the round trip costs $9.30, and parking is $3. It's no wonder that BART doesn't attract more commuters; it's too expensive for low-wage earners (even if the minimum wage rises to $15 an hour), and it's too inconvenient for those with high incomes, who choose to park in downtown buildings at $25 per day ($5,000 per year).
Don't get me wrong--I'm glad the station was built. It's very useful to have an alternate means into the City since the highways are backed up nearly every day.