Downtown Berkeley BART station. Credit: Jerome Paulos Credit: © Jerome Paulos

On Sept. 11, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) will celebrate its 50th anniversary, and to commemorate, it is reducing fares by 50% for the entire month of September.

BART is currently updating its fare calculator with the reduced rates for September, and the discounts will automatically reflect when using a Clipper card (via mobile or physical card). Although Clipper cards are $3, the charge can be avoided if you use a digital card via your phone

Youth ages 5-18, seniors 65 and older, qualifying low-income adults, and adults with qualifying disabilities do not get charged for Clipper cards when purchased at the customer services window at Lake Merritt Station. These groups already have access to discounts between 20 and 62.5 %. The 50th anniversary discounted fare will be added on top of their regular discounts.

BART opened to the public on Sept. 11, 1972, with ribbon-cutting ceremonies at each of its stations, which extended out in four directions as far as Daly City, Fremont, Concord, and Richmond. Today, BART lines extend as far as Millbrae, Berryessa/Noth San Jose, Dublin/Pleasanton, Antioch, and Richmond. The most recent stations are Milpitas and Berryessa, which opened on June 13, 2020, to allow easier access to Downtown San Jose via VTA buses. 

A clipping from the Oakland Tribune, Sept. 8, 1972, on BART’s grand opening. Credit: Oakland Tribune/

In addition to fare discounts, BART has a series of events scheduled throughout September to celebrate its golden anniversary. These include a free vintage arcade game day at the Powell Street Station in San Francisco on Sept. 3, a festival with food trucks, live music, and giveaways at Lake Merritt Station Plaza in Oakland on Sept. 10, and more.

During its half a century in the Bay Area, BART has been a backdrop for a number of film and television scenes. Arguably one of the more famous examples is the 2006 movie The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith, which was filmed at several BART stations, including the 12th Street and 19th Street stations in Oakland. BART recently published a behind-the-scenes look at how that filming came to be.

Speaking of the 12th and 19th Street stations, here’s some important information for riders who frequently use them: The 12th Street station escalator at the corner of 13th Street and Broadway is closed for improvements until Friday, Oct. 7. At the 19th Street station, the 20th Street and Broadway northwest entrance will remain closed until mid-September. 

Don’t forget that face masks are still required when riding BART until Oct. 1.

Azucena Rasilla reports on arts and community for The Oaklandside. She is an East Oakland native and a longtime reporter on Oakland arts, culture and community. As an independent local, bilingual journalist,...