Widespread problems with BART continue today, as we learn that 50 BART cars were damaged by a voltage spike requiring that they be pulled from service. The problem, BART officials tell us, is occurring somewhere between the Pittsburg/Bay Point and North Concord stations and comes in addition to the already 80 cars damaged by a mysterious electrical spike in the Transbay Tube.
"What's occurring is that when a train is traveling over that section of track (between the two stations), it experiences a high spike in voltage and that is damaging a piece of the propulsion equipment on the train car," explained BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost. "There's no safety risk or concern for any of the passengers, even the ones riding on that exact car that's having the propulsion equipment failure. But we have shut down that section of track because we can't afford to damage any more train cars; we already have a limited number of cars in our fleet."
BART is shuttling passengers between the two stations via bus this morning, a band-aid that will likely continue until the exact nature of the problem can be identified and fixed.
Unfortunately for riders, there doesn't appear to be a quick solution. "We are flying in outside experts to help get to the bottom of what's causing this problem," notes Trost.
The problem began Wednesday morning around 9:30 a.m., reports the Chronicle, causing the agency to issue an afternoon alert advising passengers to head home early wherever possible to avoid massive crowding.
BART passengers, as perhaps could be expected, were frustrated with the rapidly deteriorating state of affairs and, like any right minded group, began tweeting at the transit agency.
And whoever was behind the @SFBART Twitter account, perhaps in contrast to all expectations, handled riders' anger with plenty of candor. Even Gawker picked up the thread, saying, "Wow - finally some honesty from the government."
@shakatron BART was built to transport far fewer people, and much of our system has reached the end of its useful life. This is our reality.— SFBART (@SFBART) March 17, 2016
@tquad64 Planners in 1996 had no way of predicting the tech boom - track redundancy, new tunnels & transbay tubes are decades-long projects.— SFBART (@SFBART) March 17, 2016
@andrewkbeck No. BART's needs are like a roof - you can patch it a few times over the years, but eventually it must be completely replaced.— SFBART (@SFBART) March 17, 2016
"We apologize for this inconvenience and we are working around the clock to identify the problem and fix it," BART officials note. "We would like to thank our riders for their patience and our transit partners for providing the bus bridge."
Meanwhile, on the highway: