Why do all the trains keep having mechanical difficulties?

a good 50% of the time, i'm on a train that has a mechanical problem and the operator doesn't know if we're going to be able to make it or not. not too comforting. BART needs to quit cutting so many corners.

Train Operator since 2003's picture

Shermin set the way back machine!!! You are riding in a train designed in the early 60's built in the late 60's by the French.
Mechanically these trains have changed very little. Now that I think of it the French haven't changed all that much either.

These trains are rolling on tracks and switchpoints that have been here since the 70's and are showing their age. When the Bay area temperatures get hot the trains start having mechanical problems that the cooler temps kept at bay. When the weather is cooler it tends to be the trackways/switches that act up.

Right now we are having cold and hot weather at the same time and it's affecting the system to where the general public notices these things are happening more frequently.

By the way, this is why BART wants to buy new trains but our governer is very anti public transportation and pro road construction. BART will eventually have to send this plan past the public and we all know how the public feels about paying even more money for crappy service.

I hope you see how circular this is starting to become. BART can't give the service we all want them to because there isn't enough money to improve the system v/s Why give more money when you get substandard service as it is.

Just look around this site and you will see the same complaints in various forms:

1.Dirty
2.Delays
3.Employees
4.Rule/Law enforcement
5.Management
This list can go on but I gotta go to work so I hope this helps to understand a little more.

What really really kills me is that a failed switch on any door that says it's not closed can make the entire train out of operation. :)

I love it, one switch can mess up peoples commute. You've got to be kidding me!

The mechanics and technicians who work on the cars are lazy and tend to abuse the power of being union. These more than well paid job abusers are spoiled in many ways that effects how well bart cars are maintained and repaired. 1) Hurrying to finish their assigned task of work just to be able to play cards or domimos or even sleep at a certain time in the shift on a regular bases. 1) They are not open to the idea of giving a quality services car to the riders. 3) With the pay they get, someone out of high school could do, they take alot of corners in doing work that is so easy to do. 4)They have no since of appriciation for have a heated, and pleasant work environment and fail to acknowledge that their homes and nice cars are being paid for by riders who use BART on a daily basis. BART cars have mechanical problem because their since of job security is to let cars leave the repair facility with half assed workmenship which results in cars having mechanical break-downs. The work ethnic are poor due to worker and management superiority battle in which the union workers win in having their way. How? Making the foreworkers happy by getting cars out of the shop on schedule allowing the forworker to keep his or her job. Plain and simple. Take it from one who knows! A quality BART mechanics.

Ah, my favorite poster strikes again. Now I understand why there are so many smelly people on BART. "designed by the French"....who are notorious for not bathing regularly. Thanks for the laugh my friend, even if it was not your intent.

The mechanics and technicians who work on the cars are lazy and tend to abuse the power of being union. These more than well paid job abusers are spoiled in many ways that effects how well bart cars are maintained and repaired. 1) Hurrying to finish their assigned task of work just to be able to play cards or domimos or even sleep at a certain time in the shift on a regular bases. 1) They are not open to the idea of giving a quality services car to the riders. 3) With the pay they get, someone out of high school could do, they take alot of corners in doing work that is so easy to do. 4)They have no since of appriciation for have a heated, and pleasant work environment and fail to acknowledge that their homes and nice cars are being paid for by riders who use BART on a daily basis. BART cars have mechanical problem because their since of job security is to let cars leave the repair facility with half assed workmenship which results in cars having mechanical break-downs. The work ethnic are poor due to worker and management superiority battle in which the union workers win in having their way. How? Making the foreworkers happy by getting cars out of the shop on schedule allowing the forworker to keep his or her job. Plain and simple. Take it from one who knows! A quality BART mechanics.

Are you saying YOU are a quality BART mechanic? If so, you are an illiterate one. There are so many typos, misused and misspelled words in your post that I had to read it three times to be certain I understood what you were trying to say. Instead of playing "domimos" or cards, why don't you read a book or work crossword puzzles or ANY word puzzle for that matter?

I have no doubt that what you say about BART's non-exsistent quality control is true. This is typical of most public agencies. There is very little pride of workmanship as it is not critical to keeping one's job. It's all about meeting deadlines and coming in under budget.

OK, first off, 50% of the time you're on a train with mechanical problems? Sounds like a bit of exagerration to me. Second, yes a door open can cause the train to be pulled out of service. Downtown SF when a train has a door open, the control center usually makes the decision to remove it from service. It is quicker to offload then to have the operator search for and correct the problem door. For safety reasons we cannot run a train with the door open even a little bit. Thanks for riding BART.

How come I've seen some TO actually mechanically lock a bad door switch? They inform passengers that a certain door will not open and eventually it gets a tape or sign on that door. The key here is the train is still in operation. Why can't that be the first option. I can see 1 or 2 doors have it out of service rather than the entire 8-9 car train during commute.

Imagine how packed the rest of the platform is when you de-train a full load of commuters. Not to mention the next 5 trains or more are also full from their original pickups. There isn't too much room to squeeze an entire train load of people that was just de-trained for a door problem.

HELLO!?!?!??! E M E R G E N C Y ? ? ? E V A C U A T I O N ? Locked door, can't get out, BART knew it was non-functional, continued to run train with full passenger load, people were trapped, people died, bad bad BART. SUE SUE SUE. Where is your head??? Where the sun don't shine? BART goes with PASSENGER SAFETY FIRST.

Then of course we have the very minor detail of the people waiting on the platform who have no idea that train car door will not open. They stand there "like deer caught in the headlights" waiting for the door to open. They don't move. The train takes off without them. They're pissed...REALLY pissed. They didn't listen to the announcement that told them the door wouldn't open and that they should move to anothe car. They just stood there w a i t i n g. They catch the next train. Rush home to their computer. Get on line and log on to this site and bitch, bitch, bitch.

Train Operator since 2003's picture

Please look at Door Issues 101 under Active forum topics for further information

Can BART make doors that actually have razor sharp blades on them so it will DETER the idiots who try to force it open? Just a suggestion.

Great idea, lawsuit in the making.

Riders need to start speaking up when people do that. I love it when the TO gets on the speaker and scolds the person, and reminds them that the doors are not like those on elevators. Even better is when the TO says, over the speaker, that forcing the doors open can disable the train, and that the offending passenger won't want to deal with all the angry riders when the train goes out of service because of what they did. No kidding. I bet that's ONE time when BART riders won't be so complacent.

Actually, I love it any time the TO scolds people -- like for bringing bikes on a commute train, or for standing on the yellow strips. Some of them are pretty funny about it, too.

Those mainline techs are miracle workers and bust their butts. Most of the time the riders don't know there is a mechanical problem. Most of the time, the train will make it to the end, rarely is it taken out of service.

i would say rarely taken out of service is an exagerration. i think it is about 50/50.

For over five years, I have commuted round trip east bay to sf every day of the week and often take midday trips to the east bay for meetings. I can only remember one time being on a train that was pulled from service. Fifty percent of the time is just crap.

Everyone at BART is in the union, including the so-called quality mechanic, so don't blame it on the union. Every day some private sector company is recalling a product so don't tell me about how the private sector does things so much better. Just looke at the brilliance of the US auto industry if you want to see real private sector best practices at work. Just look at the illegal behavior of HP and Enron. Don't give me that private sector really knows how to get it done crap. After all, it was the private sector that built BART and fouled up every part of the system from day one, from the car design, the mechanical and electronic systems, the wayside equipment, the horrendous fare collection equipment, all of it brought to you by the private sector--Rohr, Westinghouse, Cubic, and IBM. BART won a big fat lawsuit against these bandits for their private sector incompetence.

There are go-getters at BART and slackers, just like where you work. There are T/Os who can keep a train running and others who are clueless. Central can tell by the sound of the T/O voice over the radio whether or not they will have to take a train out of service or confirm their decision to pull a train from service. Mainline techs are gods. They keep trains running sometimes by use of miracles.

Passengers who force open doors should be humiliated. In fact, the train that I was on that was put out of service was because of a man in a business suit who forced open the doors with his briefcase. The T/O got on the intercom and asked his passengers to thank this man as he was putting the train out of service. Unless it's the last train of the night, there is going to be another train. The most you will wait is 20 minutes. It's not BART's fault that you have time management issues. You thought you were going to save a few minues by forcing open the doors and instead you made about 1,000 people REALLY late.

aww, but it's just easier to blame the employees, or the management, or the unions, or all of the above.
I'm proud I live in a world where I can sue anyone or point a finger at everyone but me.. I can also blame anyone I want. BART is an easy target.

Sorry, but I disagree. That's the probloem in the world today. If you can't get to a train on time, find an alternate transportation method. Learn how to exercise Personal Responsibility. Morgan Spurlock said it best: Where does personal responsibility stop, and corporate responsibility begin?