TRANSOC Students Set World Record

March 19, 2024

Transportation Graduate Students Organizing Committee (TRANSOC) members Ameen DaCosta (MS/MCP), Winnie Zhuang (MS/MCP), Paul Liu (MCP), and Jacob Champlin (MS), and friend Chance Wen who documented the feat, set off to complete a Guinness World Record: The fastest Time to Visit all BART Stations on March 9, 2024. TRANSOC members Melody Tsao (MS/MCP) and Mike Santos (MEng) helped organize, plan and serve as key witnesses, as well as drive the team to Antioch in the morning, and pick them up from San Jose in the evening. ITS Library Director Kendra K. Levine also served as a witness along the way.

The ambitious idea formed in October from a casual conversation between Paul and Ameen. Quickly, the team formed — the group of transit enthusiasts were excited by the prospect, and eager to explore the Bay Area as newcomers. By February, the team’s application to Guinness World Records was approved, and the team jumped into planning mode. Factors such as date, time of day, starting and ending stations, route order, and team roles were all intricately coordinated to ensure their record time.

 “We had to do a bit of scouting in advance, in order to limit what could go wrong. As an example, we knew that we needed to be in the front of the train heading into Coliseum Station to be closest to the Oakland Airport Connector, and figured out which transfer stations had bathrooms in case someone needed to go. We also made sure to pack water, snacks, and battery packs for the journey,” says DaCosta.

 Melody Tsao, Chance Wen, Ameen DaCosta, Paul Liu, Jacob Champlin, Winnie Zhuang, and Mike Santos pose at a BART station before embarking on their Speedrun.

Everything went perfectly to plan; all connections were made, and they finished in 5 hours, 47 minutes, and 43 seconds (2 minutes ahead of schedule!). Midway through their journey, BART’s social media team picked up on the feat, reposting some of Winnie’s posts and linking the group’s YouTube livestream.

“It's been amazing seeing people's reactions to our adventure! I feel like in a way we're promoting the benefits of public transit (even if people won't be riding it for almost 6 hours straight like we did!) I've loved looking through the online article comments, and the multiple Facebook and Reddit posts to see what everyone has been saying. It gives me hope for public transportation here in the future, as there's so much interest and enthusiasm, and I believe that in a small way, we're showing how important it is to the region,” says Ameen DaCosta, MS/MCP.

The group had little time to recover and relish in their victory before they were met with a massive public reaction, for which they conducted multiple newspaper and live TV interviews. On March 14, 2024, they were invited to BART’s board meeting, where they met BART’s Board of Directors, lead schedulers, and wayfinding designers; they also received a personal tour of BART’s headquarters. 

 Check out the video of them breaking the record here.

Clips from the journey:

BART Speedrun Livestream

Getting off at the last station (Berryessa/North San Jose)

Running for (and missing) the Oakland Airport Connector at Coliseum

Continuous "Cha Cha Slide" (and other highlights) on the TRANSOC Instagram

News stories covering the event:

Group of UC Berkeley Students Go On Record-Breaking BART Ride (KTVU)

UC Berkeley Grad Students Ride BART to All 50 Station (NBC Bay Area)

UC Berkeley students say they've set a Guinness world record (SFGate)

Crazy Berkeley Kids Appear to Have Set Guinness World Record for Fastest-Ever ‘BART Speedrun’ (SFist)

How UC Berkeley students set a world record riding BART (Kron4)

California students visit all 50 BART stations in record time (UPI)

UC Berkeley grad students speed-ran the entire BART system in under 6 hours (BerkeleySide)