When 19-year-old Carlos Misael Funez-Romero of Antioch was shot and killed aboard a BART train at the West Oakland Station on January 9, no footage of the crime was available. That's because, like 77 percent of surveillance cameras on BART cars, the ones that might have captured video of the shooting were either decoys, never intended to work, or else broken and inoperable. And while it seemed that the transportation agency was scrambling to replace the fake and busted cameras ahead of this November's bond measure (whose costs, incidentally, it may have misrepresented but claims it did not) KQED writes that BART hasn't even started installing the new cameras.
“BART has committed to install a working camera system on each and every train car as quickly as possible," read a BART statement from early this year. "Staff is already working on funding options, a procurement plan, and deployment strategy." The total cost of that was an estimated $1.4 million.
But now a spokesperson says that cameras won't arrive until late 2017 at the soonest. In fact, BART won't vote on purchasing cameras for its current 669-car fleet until September. "We have to engineer these camera systems within the narrow confines of these train cars and that takes time,” Taylor Huckaby told KQED on behalf of BART. “It’s not delayed... It just takes a lot of time to custom install a camera system on custom-built train cars that are decades old.”
“We have to find a manufacturer who is able to custom-build these electronic parts that are decades outdated,” Huckaby elaborated to the news station. "That' s a problem that BART faces in a number of different arenas when it comes to maintaining our fleet. There are times when we are literally on eBay looking for old parts that are compatible with our systems.”
Originally, BART's Alicia Trost said the agency would just wait for its future fleet of cars to arrive before installing cameras. However, the optics following the January shooting appear to have changed the minds of agency officials. “We’ve decided we’re not going to wait for the Fleet of the Future to put a working camera on every train car," Trost added earlier this year. “We are going to go ahead and move forward and get those cameras and install them onto the current fleet as soon as possible. We just want to make sure everyone knows that we are already working on it and the decision’s been made."
At this rate, though, that Fleet of the Future may just be coming online around the time they finish installing working cameras on the Fleet of the Past.