About

Have you ever found yourself bored while standing at a platform for several minutes waiting for a train? One thing you can do in this situation to entertain yourself and improve your odds of getting a better seat is to go backwards for awhile; you should still reach your destination at the same time. The challenge is that if you travel too far, you end up missing the train and have to either travel further back or still do the waiting that you were trying to avoid. Constantly running outside the train doors hoping to see the remaining time display on the other side of the platform gets to be annoying, especially when the display doesn't show you the information that you want. Also, sometimes you might go back to a station that requires that you go down and back up stairs to turn around which can cause you to unexpectedly miss your train.

Fortunately, there is now an app for that (if you are riding BART). BART Backtracker is a mobile-friendly web app that uses BART's real-time API to calculate where you should turn around.

It performs the following calculation for you to determine how long you will eventually wait at a platform:

   (Minutes to wait for train you want - minutes to wait for train going backward) - travel time to other stop - travel time from other stop

and it ensures that this value is always greater than two minutes and (eventually) that you are not stopping at a platform that requires you to take stairs.

At the moment, the following stations are deemed to be a poor fit for backtracking due to stairs:

This list was compiled manually and there are likely other stations that also need to get added (this app is brand new as this was written). Other suggestions appreciated.

Here are some usage tips: