The blue-turned-dishwater brown wool seats are to BART what the worm logo is to Muni: a feature that's both familiar and iconic, even if it harbors a lot of bad associations.
Three years ago, the Bay Citizen commissioned a biologist to analyze microscopic samples from a random BART seat. She found skin-borne bacteria and traces of human feces.
That didn't stop 28-year-old Leslie Bailey from humping a seat on a mostly empty Dublin-Pleasanton-bound train last year. He was caught mid-tryst by a train operator, who dispatched BART police to apprehend him and put an end to the amateur porn show.
The escapade didn't do much for BART's reputation, which was sullied, again, when a graphic BART sex video went viral a couple months later. Even today, a BART passenger was overheard warning her kids to wash their hands after touching the wool seats.
But now, BART is promising to eradicate them.
Buoyed by an operating and capital budget of $1.56 billion for the next fiscal year, BART has announced a list of prospective improvements, including an all-out war on wool seats.
According to the transit agency, "BART continues to replace the old wool seats with easier-to-clean, wipeable vinyl covers." By the end of the year all seats will be converted, BART promises, "marking an end of wool seats systemwide."
That's excellent news for health-conscious commuters, presuming that the wipeable seats will indeed be wiped on a regular schedule. Hopefully, they'll also be harder to hump.