BART Increasing Focus on Maintenance to Meet Customer Needs and Employee Safety

April 1, 2014 · 12 comments

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An early peek at BART’s priorities for the 2014-2015 budget shows an increased focus on employee safety and keeping aging equipment well-maintained for reliability and passenger safety.

The following information is from BART:

BART riders have probably noticed more and more track maintenance being performed during service hours, especially during non-peak hours and on the weekends. This is because BART currently has extensive track work projects that require more time than is provided in the few hours we are not in service. Each night there is a rush against the clock to get the needed maintenance done to allow for morning service. There is not enough time when the system is shut down to fit in all of the vital projects that help keep our system safe and our trains on time, such as replacing aging tracks and track components.

BART riders may have also noticed that trains are moving at reduced speed while operating near maintenance work. This is because BART now requires trains to travel at reduced speeds when workers are on the track. This change has lengthened the delays that customers may experience during maintenance but help ensure the safety of our workers. Previously, the work would get done without interfering with train operations and without slowing down train traffic. The bulk of the work done was invisible to the customers with little to no impact to their trip. This is no longer the case with trains sometimes needing to hold and then move forward at a reduced speed for what can be a long distance.

In order to meet the demands of record ridership, aging equipment, and new employee safety regulations, BART staff intends to ask for several dozen new maintenance positions and additional funding for its Maintenance and Engineering, Safety, and Transportation Departments. “These additional resources will not put an end to delays and maintenance during service hours but they will help ensure we do not fall behind on the work that needs to get done each day while protecting our employees working on the tracks,” said BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost. “The additional costs, which will be covered by existing funds, will be the centerpiece of next year’s budget and are absolutely necessary to keep pace with the service expectations of our riders while keeping our staff safe.”

For the past three years, BART has been working side by side with the California Public Utilities Commission as they crafted comprehensive rail safety regulations impacting all rail transit agencies in California. These requirements which are still evolving and have not yet been finalized, will add extra layers of protection for trackside crews during both operating and non-operating hours. Protections include better communication between the Operation Control Center, train operators and work crews on the track; safety measures and reduced train speeds when workers are close by; and a mandatory watch person even during non-operating hours when maintenance vehicles are on the tracks working. Currently BART requires a watch person only when trains are in operation.

“We know it is frustrating for riders to get caught in delays,” Trost said. “Customer satisfaction surveys over the years have repeatedly shown safety and reliability as top priorities with BART riders. BART is entering into a new phase of improved worker safety and major overhauls of aging equipment. We will keep the public aware of planned track maintenance on our website, www.bart.gov, through BART Service Advisories, which the public can sign up for at www.bart.gov/alerts, and paper Passenger Bulletins available at stations. We will also continue to schedule planned maintenance for times that are least disruptive for commuters.”

BART staff is currently working on budget proposals for the 2014-15 Fiscal Year. A new budget must be voted on by the Board of Directors by June 30, 2014. As always, there will be a series of public meetings where public input is welcome.

1 concord April 1, 2014 at 4:31 PM

After BART works on the tracks, then we have nothing but delays due to problems with the tracks. BART has been working on the tracks for YEARS and the work is never done. BART needs new management.

2 Jo April 1, 2014 at 4:40 PM

I cant wait to vote bart down next time i see them on the ballot

3 Teacher Wannabe April 1, 2014 at 4:40 PM

Looks good. Just waiting for the negative comments to roll in.

4 Elwood April 1, 2014 at 4:43 PM

DISBAND INCOMPETENT BUMBLING BART POLICE NOW!

5 BagsFlyFree April 1, 2014 at 5:07 PM

BART and you’re there…………..tomorrow (maybe)

6 Why the heck would any April 1, 2014 at 5:41 PM

public transportation agency not be focused on Maintenance to Meet Customer Needs and Employee Safety? But my question is where does customer safety stand on the list?

The priorities should be clear, obviously they are not. Bart needs an overhaul, from the top down.

7 Teacher Wannabe April 1, 2014 at 6:35 PM

See what I mean?

8 Dorothy April 1, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Hope public safety means more BART cops roaming around the parking lots.

9 Shelly April 1, 2014 at 7:35 PM

Well #7, you said what you wanted in the Water Cooler question today (and I COMPLETELY agree), why shouldn’t people say what they think here?

10 concord April 1, 2014 at 8:54 PM

We could definitely use more BART Police on the trains. Last night’s psycho had the emergency door release slider open, pouring all kinds of drinks in the hole that he picked up from garbage cans throughout the night. Down the emergency door release area went a Strawberry Frappacino, a coffee drink, a soda, and a bottle of water. Then, of course, there is the bottle of booze Mr. Psycho is drinking because BART to him is just a BAR and Flop House. Passenger Safety isn’t even on BART’s list so rest assured you don’t have to worry about where it stands in the priority line. NOWHERE.

11 LOL April 1, 2014 at 9:15 PM

I love how BART management is trying to look good. The ONLY reason they are making a big deal about Employee safety right now is because of the two employees that died last year. They are being required to make changes. This is not something they want to do in any way. BART never has cared about the safety of the passengers of employees. They only care about the trains running on time and thats how management gets bonuses!!

12 jtkatec April 2, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Concord (10), you didn’t mention whether you called the BART police to report the guy. Did you?

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