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Friday, April 22, 2016

BART Uses Prince To Self-Promote; Called Out, Apologizes

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 10:04 AM

When you’re used to seeing headlines about yourself like this, it’s easy to get carried away and think you can do no wrong. That appeared to be BART’s affliction yesterday in the wake of the abrupt death of Prince.

Most of the world is devastated and sharing in the love for one of music’s biggest presences — millions of tweets so far prove it. So someone over at BART apparently decided to get in on the, well, online traffic it seems. We’re imagining the text messages went something like this:

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Ahead of November Bond Ask, BART and Unions Secretly Craft Deal To Avoid Strikes

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 12:04 PM

  • Michael Mandiberg/ Flickr
Like the rest of us, if there's one thing BART needs, it's money. And if there's one thing that will keep us from voting to give BART money, it's another commute-wrecking, traffic-causing, political opportunity-making worker strike.

There will be no BART strikes until at least 2021, following the secret renegotiation of BART's contract with its union workers.

Later today, BART and its three major unions plan to announce a new four-year worker contract, as ABC-7 first reported. This may seem premature — after all, the current contract is not even three years old yet — but securing this worker peace means securing peace with commuters who, when they become voters, have proven to take unkindly to BART workers striking.

This means those same voters may feel more kindly to BART this November, when the transit agency is expected to ask voters to approve a multi-billion-dollar voter bond.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

BART's Train Supplier is Missing Deadlines, Losing Contracts, Seeking Bailout

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Will we ever see it run? - BOMBARDIER
  • Bombardier
  • Will we ever see it run?

The still-mysterious electrical surge that knocked out almost 10 percent of BART's fleet of rail cars could not have come at a worse time. (There is probably no good time; a less-awful time may have been, say, six years ago, when far fewer people rode BART.)

The evil current is breaking a key part — an electrical semiconductor called a thyristor — in BART's already-ancient fleet of rail cars, some of which are already past their recycle-by date. Conveniently, BART has no spare thyristors and has had to order new ones... which won't be delivered until August.

In the meantime, BART has resorted to pirating thyristors from some of its old cars... of which there are literally none to spare. BART has over 669 cars in its fleet and is supposed to run 579 on a daily basis, but was down to 521 as recently as Friday (though 557 were available on Monday).

All of this to say that BART's $1.5 billion, 775-car "Fleet of the Future" cannot arrive soon enough — and that it quite possibly will not.

Bombardier, the rolling stock giant contracted to build the fleet, has missed key deadlines to supply rail cars to agencies in Toronto and London, the latter of which yanked its contract. Best yet: Bombardier is currently seeking a billion-dollar bailout from the federal government in Canada. And as it is, Bombardier is already months late in delivering to BART its first prototype car.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

The $3.5 Billion Reasons Why BART is Tweeting Honestly

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 2:08 PM

click image Now that makes cents. - FLICKR/MICHAEL MANDLBERG
  • Flickr/Michael Mandlberg
  • Now that makes cents.

BART is making nationwide news today — for at least some of the right reasons.

On Wednesday night, following the first of what promises to be several days of hellacious commutes — thanks, it would appear, to a section of track along the Pittsburg-Bay Point line that's spiking in voltage, knocking almost a tenth of BART's fleet of train cars out of commission and shutting down two stations entirely — the regional transit agency began engaging riders in a direct and straightforward manner. 

Transit agencies "getting real" — or at least real millennial-friendly, with GIFs replacing graphs and emojis not off-limits — has been a thing for some time. (Rest assured, LA Metro: Nobody can touch you.) BART's turn towards straight talk was refreshing enough to earn the agency praise from national publications like New York magazine and Vox. "Wow," Gawker mused. "Finally some honesty from the government."

But there's a real pragmatic reason why BART is speaking plainly to its people: those same people are likely to be asked to tax themselves on BART's behalf this fall.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Greatest BART Annoyances (Worse than Seat Hogs)

Posted By on Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 1:59 PM

  • BART Idiots Hall of Fame/Facebook
The only thing more popular than riding BART is complaining about riding BART.

It’s never on time. It’s crowded. It’s slow. It’s loud. It smells. It’s expensive. It doesn’t run late enough. The AC doesn’t work. The heater doesn’t work. And so on and so forth.

But maybe the chief beef is complaining about other riders and how they just don’t give a crap about other riders. Oh, and if you’re the San Francisco Chronicle’s resident right-wing columnist, homeless people on trains might as well be terrorists.

So, BART’s board of directors is considering outlawing the occupation of more than one seat on a train. On Thursday, most of the debate about the proposal centered on boring stuff like the language of the ordinance and whether BART police would enforce the rule on less crowded trains.

No action was taken. But it’s easy to see why this has reached the board, as taking up extra seats is annoying. Is it the most annoying thing riders have to deal with though? Let’s take a look, courtesy of our friends at BART Idiots Hall of Fame.

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Time Management: BART Willing to Pay You to Show Up Late to Work

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 1:27 PM

click image MOJADO.COM

It’s no secret that riders have been piling onto BART in record numbers in the past five or so years as the Bay Area, and San Francisco in particular, enjoys healthy economic activity.

Social media is chock full of commute woes on a daily basis (just type in #BART on Twitter). But there are hard numbers supporting your more crowded commute: BART says its average weekday ridership has increased by more than 100,000 people since 2010, and now stands at 430,000, per the Chronicle — which used to be the kind of crowd you'd only see when the Giants won the World Series.

That’s a lot of bodies. But not only is it crowded, BART is expensive — and there's no "monthly pass" or other discount for suffering the ignominy of being stuffed into a tube on the bottom of the Bay twice a day.

But they are trying to do something about it, as in paying you to tweak your travel habits. If you’re lucky enough to have an employer who’s flexible with your schedule, or if you have the ability to set your own hours because you’re the boss of you, you could finally get close to enjoying on BART one of those heavy-use discounts enjoyed by the riders of virtually every other transit agency in the known universe. 

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Starting Today, Some BART Trains Will Have Even Fewer Seats

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:38 AM

  • Jim Maurer/Flickr

Transit planners call it a “crush load,” but commuters know it as a typical rush hour on BART. With ridership levels at record highs, the agency is getting creative (or desperate) with space management aboard packed trains. Starting today, BART will remove seats from 20 of its cars to accommodate more passengers.

Per Hoodline, seven double seats in each car will be replaced with single seats. Four of the newly roomy cars will launch on each of the agency's five lines.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

BART Says No to Vaping (Officially)

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 4:41 PM

  • Image courtesy of BART
Well, the time has come.

Users of vaporizers — whether they're e-cigarettes or sneaky cannabis toking machines — are on official notice to cease, desist, and otherwise not use the smoking alternatives at BART stations.

This is not a new policy, but the transit agency posted signs in stations signaling this on Tuesday, and also took to social media to make the message clear. 

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Embarcadero BART Station Closed Due to Medical Emergency

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 2:25 PM

  • Thomas Hawk/Flickr

It’s shaping up to be a tough day for BART.

This morning, trains were delayed in the East Bay as police at the Lake Merritt station tried to apprehend a robbery suspect who had fled into a tunnel. And this afternoon, the Chronicle reports that a person may have jumped in front of a train at the Embarcadero station.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Stay On Your Side of the Bay This Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 11:05 AM

  • Joseph Sohm /

BART is shutting down its transbay service this weekend to make repairs to the transbay tube, so if at all possible, STAY ON YOUR SIDE OF THE BAY. 

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    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"