It's a been a minute since we had the pleasure of BART's Twitter account coming alive with some honest and/or sassy commentary. But whoever's in charge over there this summer, kudos.
Case in point, following an innocuous Thursday post about air filtration on BART's train cars — one in a series of items in BART's campaign to convince people it's safe to ride the trains again — a Twitterer responded asking how well the system will filter out a fart.
Let's talk air flow in BART cars:— SFBART (@SFBART) August 13, 2020
BART cars filter & replace inside air about every 70 seconds. This was the case before COVID-19 and is still now. Air is filtered more effectively than in an office or grocery store.
We've also begun new pilot tests for better filtration. pic.twitter.com/Wpw87HC49m
BART's communications team was expanding on a piece in the New York Times earlier this week about the New York subway system, which noted that experts recommend air be filtered about eight times per hour to adequately prevent virus particles from spreading among train passengers. "BART cars currently replace air at a much higher rate at 50+/hour," BART tweeted, as part of the thread.
Currently, BART cars filter air using the MERV-8 (MERV is graded 1 to 20, higher # filters can trap smaller particles) filters which can trap particles between 3 and 10 microns in size.— SFBART (@SFBART) August 13, 2020
In 5 cars, BART is testing MERV-14 filters, a much tightly woven filter than MERV-8 filters. pic.twitter.com/C8w2ZkOaXX
Then we have the question from another Twitter user, Mike Spinney, which surely he didn't think BART would honor with a response. But they did.
All we really want to know is how long will it take for the new system to filter a fart out of the car.— Mike Spinney (@spinzo) August 13, 2020
About 70 seconds, maybe longer if you laid a real monster of a fart or sharted yourself. https://t.co/y2ZxlT7qEJ— SFBART (@SFBART) August 13, 2020
There you have it: BART's air system won't let you inhale the farts of others for longer than a minute, but no one can help you if someone shits themselves — which is not exactly uncommon on BART.
The funny reply harkens back to the spring of 2016, when BART had a new young communications associate handling its tweets, Taylor Huckaby. Huckaby was unmasked after a series of surprisingly candid replies to BART riders on the platform, saying things like, "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."
Hucakby is no longer with BART — according to LinkedIn he's moved on to the communications department at Calbright College — so we'll have to wait to see if BART reveals who's been given the Twitter password this summer.