OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – BART is seeing record ridership, and with it, dirtier stations. The transit agency is using new tactics to fight the filth, as part of a multimillion dollar campaign.
One of the tactics is a canopy outside the 19th Street station in Oakland, which will let BART workers close the station overnight. The canopy will keep some homeless from using stations as a shelter and a bathroom.
Another smelly example is the elevators, particularly in Downtown San Francisco stations where urine seeps into cracks in the flooring.
"I would not take the elevator if I had a choice," BART rider Nelle Champman told KPIX 5. Chapman recently had knee surgery, which means she has to suck it up and hold her breath.
For other riders who do have a choice it's a no brainer. "I would rather walk up 150,000 steps than get on that elevator," said Adama Bryant, another BART rider.
BART said all the filth is a consequence of record ridership. "So, we're trying to keep up with it, but it's nearly impossible," said spokesperson Alicia Trost.
To fix the smelly elevators, BART will use metal flooring in all 127 elevators system wide, that will make them easier to clean.
Also, a new three-man brightness crew focuses on cleaning the eight dirtiest stations. And inside the trains, the old, dirty seat cloths are out. The carpet is coming out, as well.
Some riders haven't noticed, which brings up the question, is it making a difference? "You might not walk in and think everything is shiny and clean, but imagine if we weren't doing this cleaning, what it would look like," Trost said.
So far, the improvements have cost at least $10 million. The BART Board is looking to spend more money on fighting filth.
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