OAKLAND -- BART is pushing ahead with a proposal to run buses between its stations after midnight when train service shuts down.
Proposing a fundamental change in how it delivers service in the Bay Area, the BART board directed its staff Thursday to come up with a proposal for late-night bus service.
"I think it's important to discuss serving customers on a 24-hour basis," said BART Director Robert Raburn, of Oakland.
Many details remain to be worked out, including who would run the buses and how the service would be paid for at a time when bus systems have been cutting service because of money shortages.
Board members, however, agreed they want buses to serve late-night workers or people out on the town for shows, parties or entertainment.
Christopher Mullin, an Oakland resident, told the board the late-night service would be particularly helpful to disabled people whose late night plans are restricted by the midnight closing of BART stations.
"This is an idea whose time has completely come," said Mullin, who has done work advising disabled people on how to access public transit.
BART board members had been looking into extending train service past midnight, but that idea proved much more difficult than expected.
If BART extended service on Friday nights, it would have to begin train service later on Saturday mornings to give crews enough time to do daily maintenance that can only be done when trains are not
BART Board President Bob Franklin suggested the rapid transit district might dedicate BART-branded buses that could offer late-night service and be available during the daytime to shuttle passengers during emergencies when the train system is disrupted.
BART probably would begin the service by contracting with another bus provide, such as AC Transit, Franklin added. No date has been suggested for a date to start bus service, but Franklin said he hopes it will happen in 2012.
The board president initially suggested the idea of late-night BART service nearly a year ago. "It was more complicated than I thought," he said.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.