A big hello to readers from the Queen of the Road, whose commuter advice column runs in this paper on Wednesday and Sunday! I’m looking forward to working with transportation writer Denis Cuff on this blog.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting BART Central in downtown Oakland. The two-story-high, darkened room, with its vivid red, green, and blue schematics of the BART electrical system and stations on the walls, is the closet thing to “Star Wars” the Queen has ever experienced. You, too, can visit BART central via this BART video.
The Queen took advantage of the opportunity to ask BART personnel some of the questions her readers have often posed.
Something that comes up often is the length of trains, especially during commute hours.
“Commuters always ask, ‘Why isn’t my train ten cars long?’” said Chris Young, operations control central manager.
The problem: “We just don’t have the cars.”
BART has 669 cars, some of which are going to be out of commission for maintenance at any given time. If every train had 10 cars during the morning commute, that would be 620 cars, which would be close to 100 percent.
That would mean that there would be no spares in case of one of Young’s chief nightmares, a breakdown during rush hour.
Young’s fondest dream? “One hundred more cars and one more track in each direction.”