The event coordinator in me really feels the need to write this post. The other night, KP and I went to a ball game in Oakland, which you can read about here. This post is not about the game itself, but about the trip home. Or rather, the walk out of the stadium onto the BART train. I know this sounds like a weird thing to write an entire blog post about, but I swear it was just so darn impressive.
When the post-game fireworks show ended, I was dreading the trek out of the building and onto the train. There was only one relatively narrow pedway across to the train station, and I had horrible visions of how long it would take to get everyone across it. The visions worsened when we realized that they had blocked off the pedway and several hundred people were congregated outside the gate, waiting to be let through. I imagined the pushing, shoving, trampling, and waiting that would ensue once the gate was open. I thought about the fact that most BART stations only have a couple ticket machines, and only a few narrow gates to go through individually with your ticket. I tried to figure out how many trains would pass by before we would finally get on one. Friends, all these worries were completely unfounded, and I’m still not entirely sure how.
When the pedway opened, people moved steadily through it, with a select few stopping to buy from the churro vendors on either side of the walkway. We barely stopped moving the entire way across, down the stairs, through the BART gates, up the escalator, and onto the waiting train. How did this happen? It seemed everyone had prepurchased their return tickets on the BART (we did too), which removed the issue about the ticket machines, but the rest of it was just impressive. I think they must have timed the opening of the gate on the pedway with when trains would be in the station. Likely they also had increased train frequency during this time, and maybe added cars to any trains already running.
I’m not entirely sure on all the details, but I needed to write this post to express my admiration. The little things like thinking through a guest’s experience when leaving an event can have the greatest impact on how they will remember their night. I will forever remember how painless that trip back to the train was, especially compared to where my expectations were sitting. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything as efficient as how that crowd was handled. Well done, BART.