There are many reasons why traditional BART is better for the East Bay Area than eBART. Some of those reasons are cost, ridership, design and disrespect.
I have read about eBART costs on different websites, including sanbruno bart.com, that say the system will cost $1.3 billion, compared to traditional BART, which will cost $2.2 billion.
The eBART system is cheaper to build, but in the long run will be more expensive to maintain. The public has to realize that the transfer station to connect eBART with the current Pittsburg/Bay Point station will take a lot of money, $130 million, to build. A traditional BART extension from Pittsburg to Century Plaza (west of Circuit City in Antioch) will cost $700-plus million to build. If BART in the future spends $130 million just on a transfer station, then they should just take that money and build a traditional regular extension. That amount in the future will be the most ever spent on one BART station, which is not good.
Second, I have received e-mails from people and read on the Internet that many people will not ride the eBART system because it is not how they think of BART. It will be a light rail system like the systems in San Jose and Sacramento, which means the tracks will not be the same, nor will the stations be the same.
I personally will not be riding eBART if it is built. I have recently ridden on the San Jose VTA light rail and there are very few people - like six per car - that ride from Milpitas to Alum Rock station in San Jose. I do not want to see BART build another extension that is practically empty with very few riders like the San Francisco Airport extension.
Third, the design of the eBART is still not traditional BART, which means that the seats are going to look different. They may not even be blue like the current system.
I rode BART three times in July 2007. The smooth ride when BART pulls out of the station and the sound of the train moving down the tracks while the wheels are creating the grinding noise is classic. Also, the sound when BART pulls into a station and the train operator is pushing the "beep beep" button to alert riders of the oncoming train will most likely not be a part of the eBART system.
Fourth, East County residents are again being treated like stepchildren. Antioch area has been paying BART taxes like Richmond and some other areas for decades. Hercules and Santa Clara, both are proposed to get traditional BART extensions. Why can't our area from Pittsburg to Brentwood have a traditional BART extension too?
Highway 4 widening from Railroad Avenue to the Hillcrest area is scheduled to be
completed within the year 2012. eBART is scheduled now to be completed in 2014-2015. So I believe that the freeway median will be there for a traditional BART extension.
I know that BART past Pittsburg/Bay Point is not coming any time soon, but if they start construction in 2010 or later they will have the median to complete a one- or two-station extension to Hillcrest in Antioch.
If BART in the future goes ahead and builds this eBART system it will be very disrespectful to our area and all of the BART taxpayers here.