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BART Turns To eBay For Parts To Keep System Limping Along

KCBS_740 OAKLAND (KCBS) -- BART has been turning to sellers on eBay for spare parts to keep its aging fleet of train cars running.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit system went online in 1972, and many of the parts used to keep the trains running are now obsolete.

"There are some old parts that are out there that are used in different systems, and it's because they're obsolete, many of the parts used on the BART system are obsolete. So, our workers have been very creative about figuring out how to replace parts," BART General Manager Grace Crunican told KCBS.

The rail agency has zeroed in on electrical and computer equipment being sold through the online marketplace, which is often in better condition than the failing components that have seen years of abuse from transporting passengers around the Bay Area.

"If you wanted to repair your 1972 car, you too would go online, look up some parts around the country. It's not all electronic – a good deal of it's mechanical as well," Crunican said.

BART engineers have become experts at designing and manufacturing many of the parts in-house that they can't replace anymore, Crunican said.

"This is the oldest fleet in the country. The workers are why we're still in existence," Crunican said.

Until new BART cars are put into service later this year, and a new computer system is installed, Crunican said eBay may be the way to go.

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