UPDATE: Homeless Shelters, Taco Trucks Possible Uses For Old BART Cars

January 10, 2019 14:00 pm · 29 comments

(by Janis Mara) – Homeless shelters, taco trucks, scrap metal — these and other possibilities were discussed at a BART board meeting Thursday morning for what to do with hundreds of old, soon-to-be-junked legacy BART cars.

“I went to an event the other night and five people came up to me just to share their ideas for old cars,” BART Director Rebecca Saltzman said at the presentation, which was strictly informational in nature.

Most of the system’s 669 banged-up, worn-out old cars, some almost 50 years old, are set to be retired by August 2023, BART special projects manager Philip Kamhi told the board at the meeting, which was attended by about 30 members of the public. Kamhi is in charge of the decommissioning of the train cars.

The retirement of the original BART cars, the oldest of which ushered in BART service in 1972, is expected to be staggered over the next four years. Retirements are scheduled to accelerate in mid-2020.

“We would like to get a few of these cars and preserve the incredible technology that went into them,” said Robert Simon, who attended the meeting on behalf of the Western Railway Museum in Suisun City.

The Oakland Museum of California and the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento were also mentioned as possible homes for old cars.

Using the cars to create an artificial reef in the ocean is out because the BART fleet is primarily aluminum, Kamhi said.

“The BART fleet was made of aluminum to keep the weight down to keep the cars moving fast, as opposed to steel which is often used in similar fleets,” he said.

The San Francisco Fire Department and other fire departments have spoken with BART Board President Bevan Dufty about using the cars for purposes such as training exercises, Dufty said.

Dufty also suggested that Kamhi take the presentation to local homeless boards. The idea has been floated to use the cars for temporary or emergency housing.

“Do we have a ballpark on the fair market value?” Saltzman asked.

Kamhi said one car could be worth zero to $15,000. BART will put 10 cars on the market this summer as a pilot project to get an idea of the market value.

If a car is worth more than $5,000, the Federal Transit Administration may be entitled to a cut of the proceeds because the agency chipped in to help BART buy or rehab some of the cars.

BART rider Lisa Hart of Pittsburg said she’d like to see the legacy cars used for a variety of purposes.

“Housing the homeless, going to museums, making them into art pieces” are all good ideas, Hart said after she exited a BART station in downtown Oakland Thursday morning.

Willis January 10, 2019 at 2:05 PM

Or a tiny house that smells like ammonia.

XJ January 11, 2019 at 12:54 PM

Ammonia? Don’t you mean piss, poo, petcouli and old heroine?

The Mamba January 10, 2019 at 2:42 PM

I would love for them to stay in use since they seem to have far more seats than the stupid new configuration.

linnie January 10, 2019 at 3:52 PM

i agree!!! and the seats that are on the new ones are smaller, harder and uncomfortable.

MEV January 11, 2019 at 12:07 AM

I second keeping them in service. More stations have been built but fleet has not expanded to support because BART didn’t purchase additional cars only replaced current fleet. Need 24 hour public transportation too.

Average Joe January 10, 2019 at 2:50 PM

I find that funny… the new cars are used as homeless shelters too.

Nature Lover January 10, 2019 at 3:22 PM

@Average Joe
I like your sense of humor!

Skeptic January 10, 2019 at 6:27 PM

Beat me to it!

idiots everywhere January 10, 2019 at 2:58 PM

They have already been used as homeless shelter. Send the best to a museum and recycle the rest. Steel wheels and aluminum body are all easily recycled.

Schmee January 10, 2019 at 3:02 PM

I was about to say the same thing. ART the current cars in use sort of homeless shelters?

H8 BART January 10, 2019 at 3:02 PM

BART cars are already homeless shelters.

Bobohead January 10, 2019 at 3:12 PM

Then we’ll really have a crisis at the border with everyone stopping at our border wall to live in a bart car.

“Does amazon deliver to car 682? I’m on the California/Mexico border. Half mile west of hwy 188. Second row.”

Cellophane January 10, 2019 at 3:56 PM

I can’t even imagine the filth inside those cars.

I don’t believe they have any real value any longer.

Cut them up an sell them off.

mike favar January 10, 2019 at 3:59 PM

Porta potties. It won’t need much to convert them.

Original G January 10, 2019 at 4:03 PM

Got it, Put several together near BART stations and convert them into Diners. Years back was all the rage to make old rail passenger cars into Diners.


RANDOM TASK January 10, 2019 at 4:21 PM

“The BART fleet was made of aluminum to keep the weight down to keep the cars moving fast, as opposed to steel which is often used in similar fleets…

yeah those who remember BART was the first so called rapid transit ..not
then came the monorail salesman …nope
then came a hyper loop fascinating space like adventure train/no… car/no… pod like system to speed you off at ludicrous speed up and down the coast at no cost to wildlife or homes or land …ooops imminent domain shucks



as the money will go towards the politicians flood of illegals ….entering to boost votes for dems when the legalize all 22 million of them at once and secure potus for 100 years or more and secure the socialist march…..

take some pictures of free America it will soon be gone ….

Anonymous January 10, 2019 at 4:50 PM

Why wouldn’t aluminum work in the ocean for an artificial reef ?They make boats out of aluminum because it doesnt rust.

John Hamblin January 10, 2019 at 5:36 PM

Now it’s called Rancid Transit.

Chubby January 10, 2019 at 6:45 PM

Half bury them sticking diagonally out of the ground, like Cadillac Ranch.

Silva January 12, 2019 at 9:54 PM

That would be cool. I was thinking of an oversize Stonehenge, but that sounds be better’

WC Resident January 10, 2019 at 10:14 PM

The city of Concord could get the fleet and plant them just like the Spirit Poles.

Love My City January 12, 2019 at 7:45 PM

Looks like the city of Walnut Creek has recycled some of the Spirit Poles at that apartment complex being built near the BART station. Only they’ve been painted blood red! What’s that all about?

Silva January 12, 2019 at 9:46 PM

Those Spirit Poles! That was my same thought when those went up at the EB exit from 680 at YVR. And the installation on the NW corner of YVR and Oak Grove look suspiciously similar. Bent Spirit Poles, I’m pretty sure. That still leaves quite a few out there!.

Jackson Hammer January 10, 2019 at 10:57 PM

If they get turned into taco trucks and somebody doesn’t use one to open a one named Bay Area Rapid Tacos I’m gonna be very upset.

Kelly anne January 11, 2019 at 5:50 AM

They’ll look great in the old Kmart parking lot in Antioch.

TSAtoday January 11, 2019 at 7:36 AM

They should convert four or five cars to porta-transit shower facilities for the homeless to use. Each shower car could be accompanied by another potable water/gray water car. They could maintain a set schedule at short track spur locations constructed at minimal cost, throughout the BART system, but not at the main stations. Return/rotate water cars to a home base plant to refill and dump and go out again.

mike nelson January 11, 2019 at 8:07 AM

Ill take one for my backyard. Would look cool half buried on my hill

gimli January 11, 2019 at 10:32 AM

Stack the cars on top of each other, paint em’ black and sell them to Trump sycophants using language- “Emergency”, “Prototype”, “bigger wall than the Democrats.” It will help sales if the sales people are white only former Miss Universe contestants.

jon s January 12, 2019 at 3:03 AM

They will scrap them for money.End of fantasies.Watch.

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