Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has started a platform-level sign pilot at Lake Merritt Station in Oakland, Calif.; Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is set to restore full commuter rail service.
BART Maintenance and Engineering staffers retrofitted existing LED displays with full-color monitors to “demonstrate that this is an efficient, cost-effective method to get more information to customers,” according to the agency. If successful, the 19th Street Station, also in Oakland, is next in line for the upgrade.
Each improved flat screen display, which is suspended from the ceiling, provides train details on the left side, such as train line color, number of train cars, and train type (a legacy or Fleet of the Future train); and customer service information on the right side, such as elevator availability.
“Side by side messaging is significant because riders will get uninterrupted train arrival information instead of rotating scrolling messages,” BART Chief Communications Officer Alicia Trost said. “Introducing color is a welcomed upgrade from the current red-dot matrix signs and allows us to integrate the various BART line colors to help riders navigate our system.”
On June 1, VRE will resume its full-service schedule of 32 daily trains on two lines. The commuter railroad has been running reduced service since the pandemic’s onset, March 17, 2020.
“As people return to the office, we recognize the reduced-service schedule may not be a good fit for their commutes,” VRE CEO Rich Dalton said. “A return to full service will also allow us to maintain social distancing on platforms and railcars, even as ridership begins to increase.”
An enhanced, twice-daily cleaning of railcars and federal and state face-mask requirements will remain in place, according to the railroad. In addition, the Amtrak Step-Up program, which allows VRE ticket-holders to ride Amtrak trains for an additional charge, will remain suspended.