BART's twitter manager drops truth-bombs, world cheers


I rode BART this past fall when I went to the Bay Area. It’s still great. I flew in to the SFO airport (cheap flight, best timing) went out to the BART station and 40 minutes and a couple bucks later I was at my destination in Oakland, 30 miles away.

This guy is being realistic about what it takes to run it and deal with problems, but that doesn’t mean it’s a piece of shit. It’s still quite amazing and I wish more cities in this country had something like it.


BART’s raison d’etre is to transport commuters, etc. in & out of SF. And though it’s sometimes handy to take BART from Hayward to El Cerrito, they shouldn’t be expected to take intiative to get it overhauled.


Was that a small-hands-style dig at MARTA? A little inter-city rivalry going on there?

If you’re going to compare your ridership to the population of another city, and your ridership is drawn from your greater metro area, shouldn’t you count the greater metro population of the other city too? Greater metro Atlanta population is four or five million.

(Also, IMHO and OT, Atlanta is not to be missed in the springtime, i.e. starting now. Azaleas, daffodils, dogwoods, oh my. Lush and green, moist and misty, starting crisp and cool then warming to golden sunny afternoons, just lovely.)


Um, which is to say there’s pretty much no reason for Hayward or El Cerrito to exist without the ability of the majority of their residents to get to and from SF. But that is exactly the kind of thinking that means that BART will never be upgraded or replaced.


I rode BART to work for three years while attending grad school in the East Bay.

It is REALLY refreshing to see these tweets and also refreshing after arriving home to the DC area to see the new Metro GM, Paul J. Wiedefeld, who shut the system down for a day this week rather than risk another insulation fire on the third rail.

Both systems are about the same age and are having the same problems. They were not intended to be 24/7 systems - in fact, both were intended only to run during rush hour on weekdays. No weekend or off-peak service was ever envisioned for either.

That both are so critical to their respective service areas is a case study in how important public transit is in the United States.

Support your local public transit!


What depresses me is that it just seems like a public works project of that magnitude is simply impossible these days. After the fiasco of trying to replace half of the Bay Bridge, we can easily compute that replacing and expanding the BART would effectively cost $∞.

Which is no guarantee that even paying infinite dollars would see the project completed. Look at the shitshow going down in Seattle right now, and that’s not even a worthwhile public transit project.


Wouldn’t it be $∞*2 to have everyone drive to work?

Maybe both should go back to their original intent - rush hour only; no weekends, no 24x7. But, then, the roads in both places would be a complete mess at all hours…

Rock, meet hard place.


Yes, but that cost would be on individuals, and everyone has an infinite budget for gas, and when the East Bay decides to simply abandon all work on 80 (assuming they haven’t already) then everyone will happily buy fake humvees with offroad tires to commute in from Tracy.

Seriously, though, the problem is that these things shouldn’t cost $∞, rather there is something deeply broken with the way that public works projects are designed and implemented. Surely technological improvements over the last 100 years should mean that if it cost $X billion to build BART initially, then a flat replacement with new parts should cost < ($X billion * inflation).



Perhaps Elon Musk is working on the replacement?

I HATED driving on 80! I HATE driving on 66 even more. :stuck_out_tongue:


I wound up on 580 a handful of times, and spent a few years commuting along it on BART, and even looking at that traffic made me ill. Especially as you knew that for most of those poor bastards, their reward for making it out of 580 was to get on 80.


How much of that is devoured by cost of living from living IN san Fransisco?


It is a piece of shit in many ways for the people that use it to commute every day as the trains keep getting more and more crowded over the last five or so years to the point where it is trying to function beyond capacity.


It would be if politicians cared about things like that.

and traffic volume is up about 20% or 25% in the last five years. It is noticeably harder to commute now than just a few years ago. It still isn’t Seattle bad though.


The balkanization of US cities causes lots of problems. Those with the means can move to communities with better services and avoid paying for services for the less affluent (often with lower tax burden to boot). Of course none of those communities could exist without the whole city to support them.

To a non-bay-area resident, it makes no sense that the area isn’t just one city, but really every US city with suburbs has the same issue.


Is New York City or Los Angeles all one city?


This is very, very true. SF is a bit different to a lot of cities in that the “central” city has been less abandoned by wealthier suburbs, although on a smaller scale this has definitely happened to Oakland. In fact, BART has, I believe, been one of the mitigating factors for this.

I think “Greater Municipalities” ought to have their own tier of government. God knows we have enough tiers as it is, but I think naturally in the course of time if such a level existed then local “city” governments would fade away. As it stands, there are “boards” for multi-municipality projects, like BART, or in the bay area the Air District. But these need to fall under a more serious rubric with real powers.



This applies to most US Cities. Westchester and Hoboken should probably be part of New York City. Pasadena and Long Beach should be part of LA. Highland Park should be in Chicago. Ashwaubenon Wisconsin should be part of Green Bay Wisconsin. Pick any size city and you see the same pattern.


And it’s nowhere near DC bad, either!

DC passed LA a few years ago.


The real down-to-honest problem isn’t with BART, or DC Metro, or public transportation in general. It’s that infrastructure in the U.S. is falling apart and hardly anyone is doing anything about it. BART and DC Metro are symptoms.

Some politicians may be running around yelling how the country is figuratively falling apart, but they really need to be running around yelling about how it is literally falling apart. And then coming up with solutions. Because that’s why we hired them in the first place. Or ought to have.