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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Confirmed: Commuters Are Becoming More Bummed Out by BART

Posted By on Tue, Feb 3, 2015 at 12:08 PM

click to enlarge Hot and crowded riders pack into trains and hate it. - FLIC
  • flic
  • Hot and crowded riders pack into trains and hate it.
BART released some new results that show not-so-new feelings among BART riders: The trains are hot and crowded, and it sucks. 

Specifically, the results, which landed in the laps of t BART board members last week, indicated that riders felt the stations were becoming dirtier and the trains were becoming more packed with people.

BART blames the increasing dissatisfaction on aging infrastructure and increasing ridership.

“The survey results echo what is already clear: our success in ridership growth is also our challenge,” says Board President Tom Blalock. “BART trains and stations are more crowded than ever before during peak commute periods, and we are proactively working to add capacity and address cleanliness.”

The survey showed that customers’ perception of seat availability has fallen by 8.5 percent since the previous survey conducted in 2012 (and bringing their own chair hasn't helped). What's more, riders complained that the train stations have gotten dirtier over the years. Despite this dip in the survey results, 74 percent of riders were overall satisfied with the train service and 89 percent said they would recommend BART to a friend or out-of-town guest.

As for the dirty stations and hard-to-find seats on trains, all this is being addressed ASAP, BART officials say. For starters, the transit agency is finishing up some train rehab projects now that will put more cars in service by July. Also, BART is making room on the on the busy Pittsburg/Bay Point to run more 10-car trains during peak commute hours. That should be happening next month.

In the longer term, BART hoes to expand its fleet from 775 rail cars to more than 1,000 as well as increase maintenance hours at several BART shops. 

You might not have taken note, but BART is trying to give some stations a deep-cleaning on a more regular basis. The transit agency last year shelled out some big bucks for a new "brightening crew" which is exactly what it sounds like: happy workers providing water pressure cleanses and heat treatments to nasty stairwells and station entrances. 

According to the survey, commuters were also pretty upset about how stuffy and hot it gets inside the trains. "To address uncomfortable temperatures, BART is upgrading the air conditioning systems on the most problematic cars and replacing failed electrical controls," BART officials say.

What is news: Probably for the first time ever, commuters didn't complain of the infamous wool seats which have been well-documented as breeding grounds for all things gross. That's because the transit agency stripped the BART cars of those difficult-to-clean seats last year and replaced them with the new easy-to-clean vinyl seats. 

And finally, all the BART carpets will be replaced with hard surfaces by mid-summer. 

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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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