BART shows off new 'Fleet of the Future' cars

Agency hopes replacement cars will start service by year's end

BART's new, more spacious cars are undergoing testing in the East Bay and agency officials hope to get the first of them on tracks by the end of this year.

The first car of the agency's "Fleet of the Future" was shipped by truck last month from Plattsburgh, New York, where the Bombardier Transit Corp. is building 775 train cars. After the first car is thoroughly tested, BART officials hope to have 10 in place by December.

The replacement cars are sorely needed as a mysterious electrical spike along the Pittsburg/Bay Point line has been damaging cars and forcing them out of service. BART has been running shorter trains along all its lines as a result.

"This car represents that help is on the way," BART director Robert Raburn said at the Hayward maintenance complex Wednesday as BART showed off the new car to reporters.

BART will poll riders on the first 10 cars and finalize the interior design, at which point it will begin mass-producing the remaining cars, putting all 775 in place by the end of 2021.

The new cars have only one or two fewer seats than the existing cars, but narrower seats leave the center aisles wider with more space for standing, which should help alleviate crowding on the busiest rush hour trains. The seats have also been raised slightly, creating space for luggage and guide dogs underneath.

There will be three doors per car instead of the current two so passengers will have more options for where to board, shortening lines on platforms. Each car has designated bicycle parking with new racks that hold three bicycles each.

Air conditioning units have been moved from the windows to the ceiling, LED screens have been added to the walls to display dynamic maps showing train location, and signs with station announcements have been added to each end of the cars.

"It's a lot of little changes but we think it's meaningful," Raburn said.

The cars will be tested extensively at the test track at the Hayward complex and will be loaded with various configurations and weights of up to 45,000 pounds, project manager John Garnham said.

They will also test the propulsion and magnetic compatibility and have the California Public Utilities Commission review their findings.

While the new cars will immediately increase the standing capacity of each BART car, with more cars added to the existing fleet, crowding should be alleviated by enabling the agency to run longer and longer trains, so eight- or nine-car trains at the busiest stations would become a thing of the past.

The most congested area of the BART system will remain the Transbay Tube. Trains into the East Bay become so crowded during rush hour that some commuters resort to boarding a train going the wrong direction and then turning around at another station, Raburn said.

Ultimately BART management wants to have trains going through the Transbay Tube more frequently, which should be possible, but will require upgrades to the control system. Right now BART can run a maximum of 23 trains per hour between Oakland and San Francisco, but Raburn said with a new control system, it could be 30 trains per hour.

Such improvements are included in a $3.5 billion bond BART is planning on asking Bay Area voters to approve in November. The bond would include $400 million to upgrade the control system.

The bond would also include improvements to the power system, the source of frequent headaches as power problems not only along the Pittsburg line but in the Transbay Tube has mysteriously damaged train cars in the last few months. More than $1.2 billion would be allocated for the power system.

"We are focused on getting the system right and spending our money wisely," Raburn said.

Scott Morris, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service

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12 people like this
Posted by Carol Langer
a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 7, 2016 at 9:17 am

Keep the cost down and ease of CLEANING
..use plastic seats, like Europe & Asia.

4 people like this
Posted by IF their lips are moving
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 7, 2016 at 11:09 am

Like with the fake cameras, BARTD appears better at misdirection than truth telling.
BARTD originally promised a seat for every rider. They did not even install straps or handrails.
They also promised FREE parking.
Not only do they charge for parking but like at Pleasanton, they took the land that was the parking and sold it to developers who built "Instant Slums", Pack and Stack Apartments, who also need parking.
They budgeted for service to Livermore, took our taxes and other money, but never built the station.
Q. Did they ever really intend to?
And the right of way for the track is now a Lexus Lane.
Why should Livermore have to build housing they do not want near the BARTD to qualify for funding they've already paid for?

1 person likes this
Posted by Susan
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 7, 2016 at 1:47 pm

School bonds BART bonds. Vote no to waste.

3 people like this
Posted by Robert W
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Apr 11, 2016 at 7:22 am

BART has to be the worst managed system in the country. When the cars started to go wrong, the couldn't figure it out and had to fly in an expert from the East coast. They couldn't even fix their own system. They didn't upgrade their cars for 30 years and now need a tax bailout to save them. The computer system has cost tens of million to upgrade and it still only works like the original system. And it is the only system that a person with only a GED can get a six figure salary.

4 people like this
Posted by Protest BART
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 11, 2016 at 9:41 pm

BART is a constant failure! First they start experimenting with trains with a third of the seats missing. Now they get rid of more seating by adding a third door, and forcing everyone to squeeze closer together. And think of all of the wasted money as they have to tear out the yellow strip at the edge of the platform to put the markings for those third doors, just to make it ADA compliant, just to have to block those areas when a train vines that's only two doors. And when will they build more parking at the ends of the lines so that people who show up past 9am don't have to drive in anyway and add to the pollution? Who cares about SF commuters? They can afford to drive. But what about the rest of us? And why are they constantly trying to grow their reach, as if they wanted to replace the individual cities and communities with one Bay Area government. Vote the bums out and spend your hard earned money elsewhere!

2 people like this
Posted by They Claim Pleasanton was NOT the end of the Line
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2016 at 11:58 am

Based on the never full filled promise of stations in Livermore.
So they used that "hot air" to justify not enough parking.

How do they justify selling off what little they had in Dublin?

And if you can believe it, they still intend to sell off more, now in Pleasanton!

Most local people cannot use BARTD, due to the criminal lack of parking.
Might be the result of so called "planners" who NEVER ride the busses,
and still think people will want to ride public transit when it is so time consuming,
but have gotten to force their views on others.
IF you need to go from Pleasanton to Orinda, you are outta luck
You can drive it is about 20 minutes,
but to take BARTD takes 3 different trains, and about 2 and a half hours,
and a bus, because you could not park there..

Like this comment
Posted by Bill B
a resident of Ironwood
on Apr 17, 2016 at 1:12 pm

We should vote for the proposed bond so the current management will be bailed out of years of poor judgement? I vote for it if the current senior management resigned first. You can travel anywhere on the Paris system for $1.90 and there is a station less than 1,000 feet away no matter where you are. You can't go round trip from Pleasanton to SF and return for &11.000, and you can find parking at its few station session than 1,000 feet away.

Like this comment
Posted by res
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 17, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Just reading that the BART board is looking at yet another 10%+ raise to the workers and at the same time projecting a deficit. How can they be so financially incompetent? Anybody would be crazy to give this agency more tax money.

Like this comment
Posted by taxiservices
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 18, 2016 at 6:00 am

taxiservices is a registered user.

Please lower your costing plan per trip!

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