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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

BART Totally Stressed Out From 24-Hour Service, Proving It Can't Handle All-Night Trains

Posted By on Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 8:34 AM

click to enlarge Because it's broken - FLICKR/IZAHORSKY

Well, you survived the five-day Bay Bridge closure, and now your commute is back on track, hopefully. The same cannot be said for BART, which could barely withstand the extra 380,000 trips from passengers who relied on the 24-hour service to get around town during the Bay Bridge blackout.

And now, BART is paying for it. The transit agency's oldest-in-the-nation rail cars cranked out an extra 235,000 miles during those five days. So while you got to get hammered in Oakland and still make it home at 4 a.m., BART is suffering the hangover from your five-day party. Now, more than a dozen rail cars have been forced out of service for some much-needed maintenance, according to BART.

That shouldn't come as a surprise, considering commuters experienced double the number of BART failures over the weekend, including doors not opening, overheating rail cars, and stuck windshield wipers.

BART's chief mechanical officer estimates it will take work crews at least a week to catch up on all the maintenance from that 'round the clock service, which amounted to an additional 7,800 hours.

So for all of you night owls who are always pestering BART about running service 24/7, well this is exactly why it can't -- the trains cannot party all night long, even if you can.

Also, BART says, track crews need a chance to work on the system when trains aren't running. "Right now there's a gap of about four hours between when the last trains of the day leave, usually around midnight, and when the first trains of the day start up, around 4 a.m. on weekdays," the transit agency says.

Unlike most large public rail transit systems with multiple sets of tracks on the same routes, BART doesn't have the duplication that would allow the agency to run trains on one set of tracks while performing maintenance on another, according to BART. Third-rail power has to be shut down for maintenance crews to be able to operate safely and do the work that keeps the system safe and reliable. And the trains can't run when the power is down.

Look, BART was never intended to be a 24-hour system. When cost projections were initially developed, the residents who voted to approve BART (hi, mom) supported a transit system with limited hours. Back in the days, BART was even closed on weekends, giving Bay Area party-goers nowhere else to puke and pee except in their own damn car.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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