The Oakland Airport Connector

Oct. 7, 2015

The Oakland Airport Connector (OAC), a $484 million project, links Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) Coliseum Station with the Oakland International Airport via a mostly elevated automated people mover (APM) by Doppelmayr.

There are four 3-car sets of the Doppelmayer Cable Liner. The electrical engineering used was the result of close collaboration with Siemens AG Austria. The Cable Liner is particularly well-suited to urban applications, such as airports.


  • Inclined Length: 3.2 miles
  • Speed: 30 mph
  • Capacity: 1,800 people per direction
  • Trip time: 8 minutes, 30 seconds
  • Frequency: Every 4-1/2 minutes during peak, less frequent off peak
  • Stations: 3

The Cable Liner consists of double guideways on the line. Switch rails, which were specially designed for the pinched loop system and are located at the entrance to the terminal, enable the four trains to change from one track to the other. The trains are moved synchronously by four cable loops propelled from the mid station.
The individual walk-through trains are air conditioned and equipped with an infortainment system. Doppelmayr Cable Car GmbH & Co KG was awarded the contract to operate the OAC for the next 20 years.

The OAC consisted of the OAC design-build contract and the OAC operation and maintenance contract. Flatiron designed and constructed the OAC. Flatiron constructed a fixed, elevated guideaway for the APM.

The middle station is “The Wheelhouse,” and is used for storage and maintenance of the vehicles. It also houses the system’s control facilities, power substations and cable-switching functions. “The Wheelhouse” is the center for powering the system’s 12-foot drive wheels.

The Airport Station

The Airport Station is a short distance from OAK Airport terminals 1 and 2, at the front of the airport’s premier parking lot. The station features a rounded metal canopy roof and glass walls to blend with and compliment the airport’s pedestrian canopies. Station platforms at both the airport and coliseum are surrounded by glass windscreens made of colorful art glass panels. At night, the propulsion system’s cable bullwheels can be seen illuminated behind perforated metal panels, allowing a glimpse into the inner workings of the cable-propelled machinery.


The fare for BART to OAK is $6 each way. Tickets may be purchased just at the platform at Coliseum Station so the BART employees that collect money don’t have to make two additional stops and don’t have to go on airport property. The Clipper card can also be used at the fare gates at the Coliseum Station Platform.