Friday, August 12, 2011

The Seats are Gross

BART is getting a bit old.  It's not New York Subway old or heck Budapest Subway old, but the train cars in the BART system are the oldest out of any in the country.  So forgive me if I get annoyed when Linton Johnson, the PR person for BART says that replacing cars is sexy while routers and other background operational stuff is not.
"Things like routers and train control systems aren't as sexy as new rail cars," Johnson said, "but you can't run trains without those systems."

You know what else you can't run trains without?  Paying customers!  Those BART seats in many of the cars are so gross looking and sagging that I refuse to sit down on many of them.  If anyone wants a tip, generally the last car on the Pittsburgh Bay Point train is refurbished with rubber floors and new seats.  Amazing what that can do to make me feel better about sitting down where a million people have been.

BART seats. Nasty.

Also, if new rail cars are so sexy, how come we didn't want sexy time faster than 40 years of the system?  And as Ben at Second Avenue Sagas says, make em plastic.  I'm not saying don't fix the bugs in the system.  Being on time also keeps customers.  But don't pit one improvement over another.  You need both. Get it done already.


Anonymous said...

I'd rather take new routers over new seats... unless you live within 3 stops of the end of the line or work at Civic Center, you're going to be standing the whole way both on the way in and the way out anyway!

Anonymous said...

Sure, the seats are septic, and the cars are old. Every BART rider knows that.

But if the choice is between sitting in a homeless guy's crap because they didn't clean the seats, versus sitting in my own blood because the Train Control System failed, I choose the control system.

Besides, I think their plans for replacement cars are coming along fairly well. They're just coming along too damn slow, that's all.

BBnet3000 said...

Dont make them plastic, make them vinyl with padding underneath. (Like Caltrain and many other commuter services)

I often sit in the forward/backward seats with a large gap between them and the door (I need my bike for my commute), and ive noticed some of these are falling through and the springs underneath are not attached to the seat frame anymore!

david vartanoff said...

Actually NYC has older cars in service. The R32s (first large stainless steel fleet) were delivered in 64,65. They have run millions more service miles than any of BART's cars.
As to priorities, custom one off production runs guarantee massively excessive costs. BART should at least spec the car body designs used by others(WMATA for instance) so as not to reinvent wheels.

Adam Bamford said...

I'm a bit late to the party, and I'm sure you've already seen this, but the BMW designs for the new BART cars are intriguing...

What do you think?

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I think they look pretty good. But really its how they work inside that's more important. Underground vehicle looks are not quite as important as above ground in my opinion.