Commuters might be able to avoid crowded trains or at least find slightly less crowded ones with a glance at their smartphones.
Bay Area Rapid Transit has added a feature to its online trip planner showing an icon that represents estimated crowding on its trains, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Thursday.
Agency officials stressed the numbers are just estimates based on historic patterns, not real-time information, and are only available for weekdays.
One head means riders might be able to find seats, two means they'll probably be standing, and three means riders will be standing very close to one another.
BART officials began exploring a way to share train-crowd data in January after daily ridership topped a record 400,000, the Chronicle reported.
Some riders said they had their own ways of snagging a seat by, for example, boarding the first or last cars.
Other commuters on the heaviest routes didn't see much use for the estimates.
``Crowded-wise? They're always crowded,'' said 41-year-old Megan Neureuter.
Still, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said even at the height of the commute, some trains are less crowded and riders will benefit from having the information.