When the sun rose on BART in 1972, it was a joyous, miraculous thing – the future had arrived. At least according to this book, which I bought at the Fort Mason Book Bay (now Reader’s Cafe). It’s a very cool promotional piece, and I thought others might want to see it too.

The book reproduces the advertising supplement that ran in the papers to get the public pumped up for the BART launch. Gotta hand it to the editorial team that did this. They did a pretty nice job. This fancy copy, with tissue paper lining, seems to have belonged to a big shot at Bechtel.

Here’s the cover and the Bechtel memo.

(Click any image to enlarge)


The first page somewhat apologetically tells BART’s long and twisting origin story.


This next page tells how great the ride is.


BART would of course be extra amazing because of… computers. The BART computer in 1972 probably had less power than the phone you traded in three years ago. The cartoons on the right continue the theme of how hard it was to get funding and approval.


No need to enlarge this next one… same stations we know and love.


The BART stations are very 1960s design-wise; they were proud of having re-thought the whole concept of public space. BART of course didn’t realize the stations would get dirty.


Optimism defined.


The fact that corporations built BART was still apparently considered a good thing in 1972. Very white Board of Directors.


The ride was a little cheaper then.


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