While we always felt that the Bay Area's subterranean public transit systems were never as overrun with rodents as say the New York City subway, it turns out the folks who are down there on the front lines, making sure each station is clean don't share our opinion of the rodent census. In a recent set of inspection reports sent to BART high command, the station agents sound like marooned sailors sending out distress calls from some long-forgotten military outpost:
June 12, 24th Street station: "RAT PROBLEMS MAJOR RAT PROBLEMS."
June 25: "Greeted this morning by the residential rat. Then a few early morning passengers (older females) were startled (she says it nearly gave her a heart attack) by two (2) rats (not mice). Rats running up down the stairs playing in the plaza (her words)."
June 26: "RATS ARE STILL TAKING OVER THIS STATION"
As the Weekly notes, it's not just the four-legged rodents taking over BART stations, but the skyrats too: at Powell station back in June one agent reported such an abundance of pigeon shit that "passengers were slipping around in it."
As for what the transit agency plans to do about the rodents and pigeon problems? BART does hire exterminators when the rats become a problem, according to spokesman Jim Allison. The pigeons on the other hand are just "pretty resourceful birds" that have a knack for getting around the anti-avian counter-measures.