The Bay Area is stuffing its stockings and handing out Hanukkah gifts, but for many, the perfect holiday present is already out of reach: BART’s ugly holiday sweater.
The $50 blue-and-white sweater – featuring a BART train adorned with reindeer antlers and dotted with snowflakes – is a cult favorite that has quickly sold out twice in recent weeks.
“Man, y’all keep showing off your BART Christmas sweaters, all I want to do is buy one!” said one BART fan on Twitter who was unable to snag a coveted sweater before their quick sellout. “Take my money! Please!”
It is the second year in a row that BART has offered the sweater and been met with hordes of scrambling fans. In 2021, the sweaters sold out in a blistering 40 minutes.
This year, BART sold a total of 738 knitted garments. In the first batch in November, the majority of sizes sold out in a few hours. BART then quietly offered a second batch for sale in-person at the Lake Merrit station in Oakland and at a board meeting starting on Dec. 14 before announcing the restock on Twitter the next day, which triggered a mad dash to their online vendor, Alicia Trost, BART’s spokesperson said.
🚨🚨Holiday Sweater Restock!🚨🚨
Our limited edition 2022 ugly holiday sweater is once again available at https://t.co/HmzYk62yLw for $50.
They will sell out quickly. Enjoy! pic.twitter.com/jFXHjM0hUz
— BART (@SFBART) December 16, 2022
The status of BART’s sweater underscores a rail network that has grown to be an essential and beloved part of the Bay Area since it first opened in 1972. Even as BART deals with one of the country’s worst pandemic-era ridership recoveries, the electric rail system maintains a legion of train buffs and dedicated fan pages.
Why is BART not offering more sweaters? They sold like hot cakes and the agency is in desperate need of money to fill a looming budget crisis. Rebecca Saltzman, a BART board member, said on Twitter that agency’s staff could only order a limited amount without triggering a burdensome board-approval process.
“They might take a different approach next year, getting Board approval so they can order more sweaters since clearly there’s demand!” Saltzman said.
BART CHRISTMAS SWEATER
NO NOT THE SIMPSONS,
BAY AREA RAPID TRANSIT BABYYYYY 🚃💨💨💨 pic.twitter.com/omiDgl7Umo
— alyssa 🇮🇹 (@texastrashtoast) December 4, 2022
So what is a Bay Area resident supposed to do if they’re looking for that perfect ugly sweater this winter? When it comes to BART you are out of luck, said Trost.
“There are no more sweaters left,” she said in an email. One of the last sweaters was recently handed to the winner of a giveaway drawing.
But the San Francisco Bay Ferry is selling its own holiday gear, featuring sweaters in both blue and red along with socks. Those ferry-themed sweaters have garnered mixed reviews.
There’s some serious holiday spirit crisscrossing the Bay this season! Join in on the fun and grab a ferry themed holiday sweater, hoodie, socks and more! Happy Holidays and we’ll see you onboard the ferry! #holidays #SFBayFerry pic.twitter.com/BNMAjhCKQX
— San Francisco Bay Ferry (@SFBayFerry) November 24, 2022
“It is definitely a size smaller than they advertise and also the material is not that great,” Zac Bowling, an East Bay housing advocate said on Twitter. “If the San Francisco BART people can talk to ferry people, you should figure out how to get the same supplier.”