BART Board Approves $96M Contract For New Escalators

March 15, 2019 10:00 am · 30 comments

At their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday morning, BART’s board of directors approved a plan to spend $96.5 million to replace 41 escalators at stations along San Francisco’s Market Street corridor.

The contract also allows BART General Manager Grace Crunican the option of replacing four San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency elevators at the Embarcadero station.

BART staff members said the elevators being replaced are some of the oldest in the entire system and have outlived their useful lives.

As part of the escalator contract, the contractor is required to keep the equipment functioning properly at least 96 percent of the time. The board hopes to assist them in that effort by installing canopies over all the station entrances in question, which should protect the escalators from the elements.

“Working escalators are so important,” board President Bevan Dufty said. “This is a game-changing procurement as we will have a single escalator technology at all our core stations.”

The plan calls for installation of roughly six escalators per year, starting in 2020 when the first escalators are slated for delivery.

Mr. John March 15, 2019 at 10:03 AM

In the case of the Embarcadero escalators, a canopy will not prevent the type of liquid damage being inflicted on these escalators. They’re used as bathrooms.

Bob Foo March 15, 2019 at 10:14 AM

Cue the people complaining that BART is actually doing something to improve the system.

Noj March 16, 2019 at 11:32 AM

Bob Foo is not a BART rider obviously.

Rider March 15, 2019 at 10:24 AM

They really need to spend money getting homeless off BART. I have been taking Bart my whole life and it is awful. I’ve witnesses someone getting their laptop stolen, graffiti artists, feces, homeless sleeping on the trains during commute hours, smoking on the train. The escalator at Embarcadero was broken for months because of urine. Something needs to be done.

Noj March 15, 2019 at 10:25 AM

$96 million…they’d better be self-cleaning.

Bob Foo March 15, 2019 at 11:27 AM

How many escalator replacement contracts have you bid?

Noj March 16, 2019 at 11:35 AM


Mike March 15, 2019 at 10:40 AM

More than $2,000,000 per escalator? Sounds like more excessive government spending….

Bob Foo March 15, 2019 at 11:27 AM

How many escalator replacement contracts have you bid?

Ricardoh March 15, 2019 at 12:38 PM

Boo Foo. You think an escalator costs two million.dollars? Better hire a personal shopper.

Bob Foo March 15, 2019 at 12:57 PM

Two-story escalators can run half a million for a new install. Combine that with demolition of the old, and the fact that those SF escalators are more like four stories tall, and yeah I can see how $2M is normal.

Spark Baldman March 15, 2019 at 11:16 AM

Ill do it for 95 million. Where do I sign?

Bob Foo March 15, 2019 at 2:00 PM

Do you have a contractor license for this specialty? Did you submit a bid when they sent out an RFQ?

Ricardoh March 15, 2019 at 11:41 AM

How many BART board members are getting kickbacks from $2 million per escalator. Probably getting them from China at a couple hundred thou each. On top of that they can only do six a year. That means for almost seven years some of them won’t be working. Public transportation at its finest. It is as bad as New York subways.

BART Director Allen March 15, 2019 at 3:58 PM

None. I spent a career in construction industry financial management. It was competitively bid and the two most reliable companies in America, Kone, Inc and Schindler submitted proposals. Schindler won. They build the units in New Jersey. I questioned the slow pace, and was told that there is not enough labor in the Bay Area to do it faster due to all the construction underway in the Bay Area. Training programs in this trade have not kept pace. Escalator/Elevator Specialty Construction jobs are very high paying jobs. Talk to your young people about this construction trade program. I am thrilled that we have awarded the contract and get the work underway even if it isn’t at the pace I would like to see. Something is better than nothing.

Ricardoh March 15, 2019 at 4:34 PM

BART Director Allen
Otis Elevator has 64,000 employees. Plus one is one of my nephews. I think they could do the job a little faster.

Miss Chatty March 15, 2019 at 12:15 PM

I think they should fix ONE of the escalators at the busiest station and then see how that works out. If it stays running, and they are happy with the work, wait a year or two then do the rest. I don’t understand why they want to put that much money out there not knowing if they will stay in operating condition.

In addition to that, I heard on the news this morning that the reason it cost so much is that there are not many people that can fix elevators. How about creating jobs and start a training program sponsored by the city to fix elevators? They would have a labor pool to pull from for future repairs, and jobs would be created.

Reality says... March 15, 2019 at 12:17 PM

You know what never needs replacing or gets damaged from “liquid” and has 99.99% availability? CONCRETE STAIRS!!!

“On average, concrete steps cost around $2,000. Most projects range between $900 and $5,000. Where your price falls depends on the number of steps and the size of the staircase you need. Pouring cement is about $300 per step at 2 feet wide and 11 inches deep, including materials and labor.”

You’re welcome Bart. Now take that ~$94M I just saved you and invest it in network switch redundancy and data center co-lo plans.

Simonpure March 15, 2019 at 1:22 PM

Now take that ~$94M you just saved them and make the entrances secure to stop fare evasion.

Giddyup March 15, 2019 at 1:30 PM

There are in face concrete stairs in some stations of the BART system.
However, concrete stairs are not convenient for the disabled and the elderly, or for perfectly healthy people nursing an injury. Do you suggest those people not use BART … like they stay home permanently and just disappear?

Reality says... March 15, 2019 at 8:38 PM

@Giddyup – those people can use the elevators like they do now, it’s an ADA requirement I believe. Take $1-2M of the $94M I saved them and get improved maintenance contracts to improve availability.

Cautiously Informed March 15, 2019 at 12:20 PM

BART is the epitome of inept, wasteful and incompetent government. Also, it is a classic example of a government agency that does whatever it wants to, and has zero accountability for its actions.

S March 15, 2019 at 12:46 PM

So…. Some quick looking shows the average replacement cost ranging from $135,000 to under $500,000. Once again…. Follow the Moola……..

Bob Foo March 15, 2019 at 1:59 PM

Have you actually seen the elevators in the SF stations? They’re like 4-5 stories tall.

BOB March 15, 2019 at 2:19 PM

Bob Foo looks like a BART shill!!! The disabled can use the elevators. Worked with a guy who had a friend that fixed the BART elevators after the BART contractor could no longer fix them. First thing he did was pump out the water the contractor put in to top off the elevator hydraulic fluid!! Much cheaper, but does not compress. I rode BART many years and saw it all.

Pony March 15, 2019 at 3:32 PM

BART elevators are out of service more often then the escalators . Not to mention they are the slowest piece of crap in the country when they are working. Ride BART for a week and listen to the elevator updates on which station elevators are out of service. That is assuming the speaking in your car works

RSD March 15, 2019 at 3:04 PM

If fare evaders were held responsible there would be plenty of money in the system. however because of the liberal board members they would rather see the hard working general public pick up the tab for all of the lo-life thugs stealing rides. Can’t believe these idiots continue to be voted in.. Wake up working citizens!

Concord Guy March 15, 2019 at 5:24 PM

If BART’s labor costs weren’t so outrageously out of control, these escalators could have been fixed years ago.

WC Resident March 15, 2019 at 5:57 PM

BART is the opposite of a stairway to heaven.

Original G March 15, 2019 at 7:16 PM

In industry we sometimes use what are referred to as sever duty or Chem duty motors. Have seen them operate under water, as long as connection enclosure or Pecxxx head is sealed.

Longevity of a piece of equipment is often a tribute to person who wrote the specifications for that equipment. If bart wants to avoid future embarrassment have the specs written for operating in a hostile environment that will enable a cleaning crew to pressure wash the dang things.

By the way, how is the design for the FLUSH ELEVATORS coming ? ? ?

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