I have to thank David Vartanoff for calling my attention to my neglect of one of the area’s biggest transportation infrastructure disasters since a Mac Arthur Maze ramp went down in flames 13 months ago.
He called my attention to my favorite BART website, www.bartrage.com, where no fewer than 29 comments had been posted about this little issue.
According to the post by icrew,
Since the fire at South Hayward yard 2 weeks ago, there seems to be a distinct lack of urgency about getting it fixed.
It really comes across as BART just not giving a damn about whether it gets fixed and, if so, when it happens.
icrew also complained about BART’s “BS” press release about “minor service adjustments,” saying that the disruption was far from minor and the line about BART repair people “working round the clock” was wholly overstated.
Before I get to my own nonfeasance, I’ll note that my colleague in Fremont, Matthew Artz, published a story about this continuing problem on Wednesday. I’m embarrassed to say that in my preoccupied haze, I had to learn about this from the BS-artist himself, BART spokesman Linton Johnson.
Johnson, in typical fashion, took ownership of riders’ painful delays and rides:
the passengers have every right to be frustrated about the
service down there. Now that we’ve gotten about 3 weeks of service under our belt, we have a much better grasp of what their complaints are as well as what the real schedule has morphed into with the train time adjustments. We’re meeting early next week to put out a message to all our riders who are affected to let them know the latest on the repairs and what they can do to ease their pain.
As for the round-the-clock stuff, he’s sticking by his story:
As for an end to this craziness, I don’t know what the date will be, but we are indeed truly working 24/7 to get it back up and running. The Hayward Yard was home to 25% of our fleet. For us it’s like trying to get around with a broken leg in a cast. You just can’t maneuver like you used to, and there’s only so fast it can heal until you’re back up and running like you once were.
This sucks for everyone involved – we know and we’re truly sorry.
And, to atone for the earlier happy talk, he promised to put up another notice acknowledging the current grim reality.
As for the sins of the media, or rather, me, Mr. Vartanoff irked me slightly when he brought up icrew’s comparison to the MacArthur Maze debacle:
… when the I-580 bridge went out because of a fire, there was all sorts of coverage in the popular press, updates about when it would be fixed, interest from politicians, etc. With this (which is also inconveniencing tens of thousands of people every day) there’s nothing.
I argued that the BART line wasn’t completely melted down like the maze was. The trains were still moving, albeit slowly, so it’s understandable that it wouldn’t get, say, a whole week’s worth of front-page stories and a visit from the U.S. transportation secretary.
But after reading the BARTrage comments, I see that I’ve been guilty of freeway chauvinism. Now that we’re clamoring for public transit, we (I) need to pay more attention when it gets damaged.