Following a mysterious voltage spike at the end of the Pittsburg/Bay Point line that's bedeviled BART since March 16th, the regional transit system has been running a bus bridge between North Concord and Pittsburg stations. While BART engineers have yet to fully understand the problem, it appears, the Contra Costa Times writes that some BART cars, renovated "A/B" ones as opposed to older "C" cars, are faring well on the fried track.
KRON 4 posits that the C cars could have been the cause of the voltage spikes, or part of it, and that the A/B cars are more resistant to and protected from such spikes. "Once that testing [of the A/B cars] is successful, we can return to regular service," spokesperson Alicia Trost said yesterday. "We don't have a timeline yet, but we are working as fast as possible to get this done."
The weeks-long problem that the agency said could drag on for months unfolds amid a backdrop of argument about BART. While the system has actually been more reliable over the last seven years, complaints have reached a fever pitch. And while the agency's "straight talk" Twitter account might endear the service to some, perhaps promoting a presumed bond measure of billions of dollars, the agency was busy handing out millions in bonuses earlier this month.
BART wants riders trust to pass the measure, of course, but it also relies on the some amount of public frustration with the status quo to do so. In that vein, Nick Josefowitz, who serves on the BART Board of Directors, wrote in the Examiner that "the time has come to rebuild BART from the ground up." Seemingly ready to pass around the hat and explicitly invoking the bond measure, which he placed at $3.5 billion, Josefowitz wrote that "today, BART stands at the edge of a precipice."
BART riders and the Bay Area as a whole cannot afford another decade relying on its aging and inefficient systems built in the 1960s. Without meaningful investment now, ever slower and less reliable transportation will hold back the development of our region and the ability for each Bay Area resident to thrive.
But perhaps Josefowitz picked the wrong week to brag about BART's maintenance. "Not only is BART doing maintenance better than before, it’s also doing it more cost-effectively," he wrote. "BART now has both the lowest operating cost per passenger mile and the lowest proportion of its operating cost paid for by government subsidy of any major U.S. transit system." Perhaps it's easy to tell why that might be.