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Who’s on BART at 5 a.m.? An emotional journey with early-morning riders

Every weekday, BART's trains shuttle approximately 150,000 passengers to all corners of the San Francisco Bay Area. While this number is a shell of what ridership looked like pre-pandemic, there are still thousands of people that use and rely on these trains every day. A fraction of those people—about 2,000 of them—get on during the first hour of service, between the hours of 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.

We got curious about these early-morning riders.

What we found was a diverse group of people—all with different reasons for riding BART at the crack of dawn, and each with their own life experiences and separate stories to tell. Ultimately what we saw was a microcosm of life in the Bay Area—one worth exploring and paying attention to.

Watch our video to see who we met and what they had to say.

Mike Kuba can be reached at