It's a day Bay Area commuters have been waiting on for years: the Warm Springs BART station is hours away from being open for service.
The station, which marks the first extension on the Fremont line since BART started service in 1972, was unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. When service starts Saturday, the train schedule on the Fremont-Daly City and Fremont-Richmond lines will be altered by a few minutes to accommodate the new station.
It's been over seven years since BART broke ground on the $790 million Warm Springs station in Fremont. It was completed $100 million under budget, officials say.
However, it opened late.
Warm Springs was supposed to up and running in 2014, but that date got pushed back for a number of reasons. BART officials reported an electrical power issue as well as a problem syncing the new train control software with BART’s aging network.
With a glass rotunda out front, colored glass panels and open air design throughout, the station has a very distinct look compared to other BART stations.
The new station adds another 5.4 miles to the BART system, bringing it closer to the South Bay and saving riders a roughly 15-minute drive north to the Fremont station, which used to be the end of the line.
The station is located right near the Tesla auto factory in the heart of the Warm Springs Innovation District. City officials say 4,000 new homes are already slated to be built nearby. They also project that 20,000 new jobs will open up when companies move in to the area.
Anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 people are expected to use this station on a typical weekday, officials say. The Warm Springs station offers more than 2,000 parking spots, including 42 electric car charging stations and connections to AC transit and VTA bus lines.
Meanwhile, some residents are not looking forward to the increase in traffic to the area.
"We can't enjoy our backyard," said Mariselva Barlow, who has lived in a nearby historic home since 1988. "The noise is very loud."
Former Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison spent 16 years in city government, fighting for funding and making sure residents could live with the inevitable progress. Harrison said he knew the BART extension was not going to make everyone happy.
"There's tens of thousands of people moving to the Bay Area every month," Harrison said. "We need a place to house them and public transit is the best way to do it."
BART is supposed to extend another 10 miles south to San Jose, but that construction is on hold. The $1.5 billion set aside for BART and VTA was cut from President Donald Trump’s recently released budget.
San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo says that he plans to try and convince members of Congress to reinstate that money by reminding them that many components of the BART system are manufactured in their districts.