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BART Experiences Its Worst Failure in Years, as Services are Shut Down

Posted on March 20, 2016 at 10:15 PM

BART is getting worse, if you can believe it. Ever since the end of February 2016, the aging transit agency has experienced extreme electrical issues in the east-bound Transbay Tube direction and between North Concord and Pittsburg/Bay Point Stations.

The problem emerged towards the end of February in the Transbay Tube when certain BART cars traveling in the east-bound direction experienced a major voltage spike.

Relevant to C cars only, some cars were experiencing spikes in electricity that were up to 2x what BART expects, damaging a car's propulsion system and taking them out of service.

The problem emerged again this month when trains running between Pittsburg/Bay Point and North Concord/Martinez Stations experienced a similar voltage spike and were taken out of service. Currently, 58 cars have been damaged by this mysterious spike in power.

BART does not know where this mysterious voltage spike is coming from - it is possibly emerging from two power generators BART workers replaced a few months ago, but we can only guess for now. 

To combat the power surge, BART shut down all service between North Concord and Bay Point until the problem can be traced down and fixed. BART has set up a bus bridge between the two stations, but this is hardly a justifiable solution for very long.

Because of the power surges, BART does not have the typical fleet it usually does - with dozens of cars in BART's maintenance facility from the power spikes, trains have become shorter and more crowded. 

It may take months to find and repair the power surges on BART's System, which only adds to smaller, more crowded trains. So is there any hope for a better BART? The answer is, soon. 

BART's Fleet of the Future is almost here - The first cars are expected to begin revenue service next year. But that's the problem - that's next year, 2017, and the Bay Area needs relief now. 

We have to wait a little longer for help, but that's help which should've come ten years ago. For years, hardly any funding was put forward to help BART, and we're realizing a bit too late the mess of a system we've created.

Categories: BART, San Francisco, East Bay

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