BART: $20 million for expanded parking at Dublin station hinges on Assemblywoman Catharine Baker

By : mercurynews – excerpt

DUBLIN — Assemblywoman Catharine Baker unexpectedly secured a $20 million commitment from the governor’s office to pay for expanded parking at BART’s Dublin/Pleasanton station, which would fulfill a long-held promise by the transit agency to build a second garage there.

The only problem? BART’s governing board doesn’t want the garage. And that has the $20 million in limbo while Baker decides how to spend it…

BART’s board was split on the new plan, voting 5-4 to adopt the so-called “hybrid” model, which also includes proposals to enhance the station’s connections to the Iron Horse Trail, install new bike parking and work with the local bus operator to improve transit to and from the station. The plan is more flexible, and would use attendant-assisted parking with automated parking structure modules added over time to test their effectiveness, staff said.

But Baker isn’t buying it. She doesn’t trust the automated parking structures, which are used worldwide but she said have yet to be tested at a transit station, where hundreds of people get off the train at the same time during rush-hour commutes…

“Look at how unreliable BART’s escalators and elevators are,” Baker said. “BART wants to promise that not only will that technology be reliable, but it will get them their car in 90 seconds. … I just don’t believe that plays out in reality.”

So where does that leave the $20 million? Baker says the money will be used to build some parking structure near the BART station, whether it’s on BART property or not… (more)

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Transit Ridership Down 2.3% in 2016

by Randal OToole : NewGeography – excerpt

With little fanfare, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released its fourth quarter 2016 ridership report last week. When ridership goes up, the lobby group usually issues a big press release ballyhooing the importance of transit (and transit subsidies). But 2016 ridership fell, so there was no press release… (more)

We are running our own little investigation into the downward trend in ridership. It is our theory that the less public transportation designers talk to the riding public, the less the public uses their services. We think the a major reason for the drop-off on the weekends is the removal of seats bus stops and seats the BART and Muni cars, and major meltdowns of those systems several times a week.

We suggest people send letters to the SFMTA officials and the press and their supervisors to let them know why you no longer take the Muni as often as you once did, but, don’t tell SFMTA what your alternate method for getting around is or they will cut that off because they can’t allow competition.

If you want to get involved in stopping the anti-human trend on public transit, talk to your neighborhood group and check out the actions on the Action Page.

Google acquires tech company behind BART Perks Program, quietly ends partnership

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

A pilot program meant to ease crowding on BART may face a stumbling block from an unlikely source: Google.

The search-engine giant recently acquired a core technology company, Urban Engines, that provided the backbone of the BART Perks Program — but well before the end of the program pilot Tuesday, Google quietly prepared Urban Engines to end its partnership with BART, according to public records obtained by the San Francisco Examiner.

In the communications obtained by a public records request, transit officials said the perks program successfully eased some crowding on BART trains during crushing commutes…

“Google has decided not to continue with commuter incentives programs,” wrote Dave Parker, a deployment engineer at Urban Engines, to BART Principal Planner Ryan Greene-Roesel and Jia Tong, staff at a Singapore-based transportation program, in November 2016… (more)

Person Rescued From Under BART Station At MacArthur Station

KCBS – excerpt (includes audio track link)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Oakland firefighters Friday morning rescued a person from under a BART train at MacArthur Station, BART officials said…(more)

Typo or False news in the headline? We will give them the benefit of the doubt, but these kinds of errors do not help a press at this time when they are under scrutiny. This is the CBS radio station.

BART says it needs more money because weekend ridership is down

ktvu – excerpt – (includes video)

– BART officials say commute ridership is up but weekends, off-peak and short rides have slipped so much, it’s dragging the whole system’s numbers down.

Slipping ridership means less revenue and the possibility that fares could increase.

The news came as a shock to commuters, who say business on BART seems to be thriving.

“You can’t get on trains most of the time going home riding three stations upstream just to get a seat on the train,” said Dave Smart of Walnut Creek.

BART says it’s already $5 million in the red for the first half of the fiscal year and projecting a $15-25 million shortfall going forward.

One solution may be to raise base fares, an idea that doesn’t sit well with Hentemann. “That makes me a little upset because they’re cramming us into the BART trains; they’re taking seats away, we’re tired after working all day long we want to get home. We want to sit down and they want more money. Give us a break.”

Bevan Dufty sits on the BART board and represents District 9. He says the board does not want to hike fares, especially with the passage of November’s Measure RR… (more)

BART needs to listen to their clients and give them what the want, not try to sell them what BART thinks they need. Quit expanding and start maintaining what they have.

New Cars in BART’s ‘Fleet of Future’ Found to be Overweight

By Jaxon Van Derbeken : NBCbayarea – excerpt

Cars in BART’S so-called “fleet of the future” are as much as a ton overweight, NBC Bay Area has learned, and the transit agency has hired outside engineers to inspect 30 key aerial structures to assure they can handle the load.

The weight problem comes as the first of BART’s new 775-car fleet are expected to go into service later this year, once ongoing testing is complete.

Last spring, officials beamed as they showed off the first car in a fleet billed as sleeker, quieter and with an extra set of doors to better handle crowds.

But the fleet is more than a year behind schedule, and problems have marred early tests. Now, just as BART prepares to put the new fleet into service, engineers face another glitch.

“They’re overweight,” admits Paul Oversier, BART’s operations manager.

He blames all the “bells and whistles” on the new cars, including bike racks, six video display screens and state-of-the-art crash safety gear… (more)
Follow: @NBCBayArea on Twitter | NBCBayArea on Facebook

The latest in a long string of reports on BART does not look good. Whoever decided to replace seats with bike racks and more humans forgot to tally the weight of the added humans to the load on the cars.

Note the lack of seats on these cars. Who is setting BART’s priorities? I bet most riders who rather sit for 2 hours on a BART than stand for one hour watching a monitor.

Scrap the monitors and racks and bring back the seats.

BART Removing Thousands Of Seats, Approves More Bike Parking

cbslocal – excerpt

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – More bikes and fewer seats on trains continue to be priorities for the BART board of directors, which voted Thursday to increase the number of bike parking spaces and to remove thousands of seats from hundreds of trains…

Based on the increased number of tickets that could be sold as a result of the project, BART officials estimate that the agency could pull in as much as $9.6 million per year.

The seat removal, anticipated to take anywhere from nine months to one year, is intended to ease overcrowding until BART can add additional cars to its fleet. That process is currently expected to deliver 230 new cars to BART by the end of 2018 and wrap up by 2023.

“This is the most cost effective, highest impact way we can increase capacity,” said Director Nick Josefowitz, who noted that the proposal is “somewhat controversial.”…

The sole dissenting vote, however, came from Director Joel Keller, who doubts the revenue generated by the project will be anywhere near the estimated amount.

“We’re not going to increase the fare box by $9.62 million by taking out a bunch of seats,” Keller said. “We’re not expanding the ability of the fleet to take on new riders… This proposal is intended to accommodate the existing ridership.”

Keller also voiced concerns that the project was based, in part, on a survey of several thousand passengers, 54 percent of whom said they liked the option the BART board approved Thursday.

“We’re inconveniencing a lot of the riders who never had the opportunity to weigh in on this to get brief relief for a year,” Keller said…(more)

*    Half the BART trains will have 7 seats removed.
*    One seat removed provides room for 3 more passengers.
*    The cost is paid for by a federal grant.
*    Cost will be $1 1/2 million.

State launches formal investigation into BART video starring Draymond Green

by By : eastbaytimes – excerpt

OAKLAND — A state agency on Wednesday launched an investigation into allegations that BART illegally used public funds to campaign for its $3.5 billion bond after it aired a video featuring Warriors’ star Draymond Green.

Fair Political Practices Commission spokesman Jay Wierenga said the agency would not pursue a similar complaint that state Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, filed in October. If the investigation, which typically takes six months to one year to complete, proves BART broke the law, the transit agency could face fines of up to $5,000 for each violation, Wierenga said…(more)

Claims against Illegal use of public funds to finance regional BART bond ballot initiative filed by Senator Glazer

The New Muni Cars Have Arrived—See What They Look Like Inside

By Kelly Bonner : upout – excerpt

After the April announcement that we’d be getting new BART cars, SFMTA announced that Siemens, the developers of San Francisco Muni cars, are ready with a fleet of 260 new vehicles that are set to be delivered by end of 2016 to replace the current fleet of 151. This means that by 2017, you could be looking at these new designs that were previewed in the Embarcadero recently. They feature a new seating configuration, new color schemes (including green instead of red!), new exterior design and a host of other features. Shiny…

But one big change is that the majority of seats will most likely be laid out longitudinally, instead of transverse like they are now:…(more)

BART seats.JPG

New BART seat arrangement, photo by Zrants

The Siemens vehicles are rail cars but seats are also being eliminated on BART and probably the new buses as well.

Do you really want people standing on buses going up and down steep hills and stopping and starting constantly? If public vehicles have standing passengers they should move slower and start and stop slower, not faster. I practically fell into a wheelchair when BART started suddenly the other day. How many people can reach the hangers? What is the plan for children and short people who can’t grab onto a seat or pole? Hang onto strangers?

Removing seats is not the way to convince more people to take Muni to run errands that involve moving stuff. We have seen anti-backpack comments from bus riders who feel backpacks take up extra space. Packages, wheelchairs, baby carriages, luggage, pets, and bikes, among others, take up space and displace humans. How long before Muni starts charging extra for the stuff?

We insist on all private vehicle passengers wearing seat belts. Where is the protection for public vehicle riders?

SPUR Talk: Transportation Challenges for Downtown Tech Companies

by : sfstreetsblog -excerpt

A panel at SPUR discussed how downtown tech companies Airbnb and Salesforce help their employees get to work .

The San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), hosted a lunchtime talk in downtown San Francisco today, with representatives from Salesforce and Airbnb, about how the companies help employees commute between work and home. Unlike tech giants based outside of downtown San Francisco, neither company makes heavy use of private buses–so-called Tech Shuttles–and instead depends on public transit such as BART, buses and Caltrain.

“Our San Francisco campus is right down the street,” said Lauren Bennett, Senior Program Manager for Transportation at Salesforce. Her company has seven buildings in downtown San Francisco with nearly 7,000 employees, she explained, adding “That gives us access to two BART stations and the regional Transbay Terminal…we don’t have a last-mile problem.”

That’s probably why a third of its employees get to work by BART, with another 20 percent getting in by various bus and other transit providers. That’s part of a corporate strategy. “We think our employees want to work in urban areas and like the city as an amenity,” she said. And they don’t try to insulate their employees from the surrounding area. “We don’t have a cafeteria. We want people to get out, walk around and spend money in small businesses,” she said…(more)