WHISTLE STOPS!

SummerBabee's picture

This is something I am HOPING BART takes account of a FIXES! Whistle stops are when a train stops in the BART yard to drop off/pick up employees. My gripe is when the train SITS THERE and makes me miss my connecting bus! I catch the Dumbarton Express @Union City BART. These buses only come every 1/2 hour. After a while, there are no more 'express' buses (ones that get on the 101 to Palo Alto). The non-express bus ride is over an hour.

There are a lot of times when the freakin' exchanging operator is NOT on the platform waiting and we sit there! BART needs to be more considerate of it's riders. We are PAYING CUSTOMERS! These operators are already AT WORK! We are trying to get to work! If they aren't exchanging operators, they need to get off the train quickly and let us get going! If the train is already running behind, they should have to try another train or drive or take public transportation. We do it! Exchanging operators need to have their ASSES at the platform waiting for that train, not leisurely walking to the train when they feel like it! I travel from Oakland to Palo Alto on public transportation.

Missing a bus can add almost another hour to my commute time. They should be dinged or fined when they make the train late. They are inconviencing a lot of people. BART - TAKE HEED! There are a lot of riders pissed about this. They just don't know where to complain!

Spice's picture

Sorry Summer, I'm not up on the inner workings of BART so please bear with me...

So BART stops elsewhere, not a usual station we ordinary riders use, to specifically pick up employees and ONLY employees?

And they make you PAY?

And I'm assuming by your rant that there's no real "schedule" per se? Or is there a schedule but since these "routes" don't reflect on BART's "on-time" reports they don't really care...?

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SummerBabee's picture

There are BART yards like bus yards where the employees report to work, trains go to get fixed, etc. On the way to Fremont in between South Hayward and Union City stations is a yard (Hayward yard). They will sometimes stop to change operators. But, sometimes when employees are just going to work they will request the train stop for them. This is NOT on the 'real' schedule. It's only supposed to be done if the train is on schedule from what I understand. But, when they are exchanging operators for breaks, getting off work, etc I understand it. BUT! The exchanging operator is SUPPOSED to be standing there waiting when that train comes in.

The exchanging operator is not SUPPOSED to be there. Do you really expect them to leave their break room and stand outside waiting for a train. They can wait inside and walk out when they see the train. Public be dammed.

Warning, challenging comments may be deleted.

that cant be legal! ive never seen this happen or been on a train where we have picked up someone but ppl have written on here about thathappening in concord too? i would be pissed if that happened especially if i miss my bus (i connect to ac transit via colleseum bart) and had to wait for another one, and i agree with you because my bus only runs every half hour, and if i have to take another bus it adds about 15 minutes on. im lucky though in the mornings i have a great train operator who is always nice and pretty friendly and i dont think she would pull any crap like that

[primus inter pares]

"that cant be legal!"

obviously you don't understand how BART works, legal and not legal are decided by the board of directors, there's no real laws from outside BART that control where and when the trains stop.

Cogito Ergo Zoom - I Think Therefore I Go Fast!

no i dont understand. by legal i meant allowed, not like go to jail illegal. frm this post i do kinda get the point of "whistle stops" and shit but still it doesn't seem too appropriate that it would be long enough for someone to miss their bus UNLESS that person was cutting it too tight.

[primus inter pares]

Yes, it is legal, also if you read BART’s brochure, they have a disclaimer that explains that they are not responsible for late trains. If your bus is scheduled to link with a scheduled BART Train, try calling the bus company from your cell phone and advising them that the train is late. Many companies will hold the bus for a few minutes until the train arrives.

Warning, challenging comments may be deleted.

First off, BART doesn't have to share its' tracks with any other vehicles. Name another transit system that has it that good in the bay area, because even the railroads have to share with ACE, Amtrak and Caltrain. So, besides a few people who might cause a train to go out of service (and I still don't get how that happens) by holding open a car door, sounds like BART does whatever in the hell BART wants

BART's rail gauge (5 ft 6 in instead of 4 ft 8.5 in) makes their tracks unusable to anyone but BART.

1. calling AC to have a bus held would be a joke.
2. employee pickup/dropoff in the yards, has been SOP for decades, doesn't make it any more rider friendly.

Please specify the date, time and which train you were on.

First off, if a whistle stop is causing you to miss a bus, your schedule is wayyyyy too tight.

Secondly, I'm interested to know how long does a train sit there at the whistle when you're on it? What are we talking? 1 minute? 2 minutes? 5 minutes?

SummerBabee's picture

First off, the train is supposed to get to my station SEVEN minutes before my bus leaves. Why should I stand out in the cold and rain at the bus stop where there's no shelter or benches and wait extra time while BART comes whenever it pleases?????? My comments are not about the time it takes to do a whistle stop. If you read my comments, my gripe is when the train has to sit there and wait for someone to either get there or the train that's waiting in front of it. BART employees are in a warm break room. At least stand by the door and come out the door when the train gets there.

I've come to find out that Central gets a bonus when trains are 95% on time or better. $100 over a month, $700 over a quarter, and $1000 over a year.

It doesn't get paid out often.

Ok Summer if that one to two minute delay causes you to miss your connection to the DB then you need to leave your house one schedule earlier, and plus how are we supposed to exchange operators? and if we do make the exchange at Fremont, how are supposed to get there?

The whistle stop is necessary to exchange operators. Operators are relieved on mainline by using the stop. They are not allowed to stand on the platform until after the train stops. Very seldom does a train wait for the operator to come out of the break room. If it does occur its usually due to poor planning, someone dropped sick or there is an emergency of some sort.

unless the hayward yard is made the end of the line or the yard is moved to fremont, there is no choice but to use whistle stops for operator exchanges. if a whistle stop makes you miss your bus it's YOUR fault. most whistles are 1-3 min long. i get to work up to one hour before my start time in case i'm on a late train, heavy traffic or whatever. try planning your commutes you might like it.

one thing that bothers me about whistle stops is several times when we've had to stop at concord yard, then there is a train in our way and we can't depart right away. we have to sit there and wait. one time, we had to back the train up for some reason. that was a while ago and i can't remember what the issue was, i think it was a switching issue.

i hope the train was not "backed up"! if there was not an operator on the other end that was a firing offense, or management would have given it a try anyway......

AntMoOAK's picture

The answers on this thread are very immature. Whistle stops are necessary (at least the way BART has it set up). No big deal if it's done right.

I've missed a connecting bus also where if we had not stopped I could have made it. To tell someone to get to work an hour early is callous.

BART (and the connecting bus services) tout a schedule for passengers to follow. Obviously if passengers of BART are impacted, there is a problem. An easy fix would be to allow that 1-3 minutes into the schedule (transparently). This way I as a passnger won't become angry if BART is supposed to be at Concord BART at 0740 (example) and my employee shuttle leaves at 0745 but we make a stop at the yard and I get to the platform at 0742 and just miss my shuttle. If I know to expect to get there at 0742 then I know to get an earlier train.

BTW... I would suggest that actually the total time lost is more than 1-3 minutes. A train leaving Pleasant Hill may get up to say 63 mph then slow to 36 then 18 to make the stop (or whatever the speeds are). That's an additional 30 seconds lost decelerating and accelerating back up to the normal speed to get back up to speed. I don't think BART would see it at as a problem because the time lost can be made up by the time you reach the next station (in this case North Concord).

This isn't meant to be whiny post. I'm just trying to point out that the original poster's concern shouldn't be discounted.

boopiejones's picture

my commute doesn't include whistle stops so i am not 100% familiar with the concept, but i totally agree with you. if BART knows they need to make these stops, they should be included in the schedule.

correct me if i am wrong, but whistle stops are known about ahead of time, right? they aren't random events like a tree branch falling on the tracks.

Spice's picture

If a tree branch falls on the tracks and there's no one around to hear it, does it still cause a delay? :)

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Yes it does, and I have to go out to "inspect" the cars before they can be brought back to the shop, in the rain, at 4:45 AM....:D

Cogito Ergo Zoom - I Think Therefore I Go Fast!

They are scheduled but only on that day, every day is different depending on how many trains are running and what TO is on which particular run. some TO's start earlier than others so need to be relieved earlier, and sometimes they have emergencies and need to be relieved at the soonest possible point which is usually the shops.

Cogito Ergo Zoom - I Think Therefore I Go Fast!

Spice's picture

All this talk of needing to be relieved...whew... I think I need to go relieve myself.

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