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Is it just an employee’s child or a safety risk riding in the BART train cab?

By dcuff
Sunday, May 1st, 2011 at 8:35 am in Uncategorized.

BART and its train operators are at odds over a district edict barring the operators from bringing their sons and daughters into train cabs last Thursday during bring your child to work day.  Is this a common sense safety rule? Or is BART management operating too rigidly in limiting what its employees can do on the day aimed at exposing children to their parent’s careers?  The president of the union for train operators brought up the beef Thursday when she told the BART board she was appalled and disappointed by a BART bulletin  barring kids in train cabs and BART yards. The bulletin was issued five days before the national bring your child to work day, providing too little time to iron out the dispute, she said.

“We’re not air traffic controllers,” said Antonette Bryant, president of Local 1555 of the Amalgamated Transit Union. She said the edict reversing BART’s previous tolerance for kid visits to train cabs and yards  had effectively denied 500 BART workers the ability to bring their sons and daughters to work.

Bryant said when she made inquiries, a management representative told her the bulletin was issued at the wishes of the BART board because of safety concerns. (Trains often  run on automatic control, but sometimes are turned over to the control of operators sitting in the cab.)

 Board members, however, appeared to be puzzled by Byrant’s statements and looked quizzically at each other and the transit system’s upper managers, who offered no comment. Director Lynnette Sweet of San Francisco said had never heard of the bulletin.

BART  managers said they would look into the issue and and reply with a memo to the board.

Bryant told the board she had heard that BART was unhappy at getting a complaint from a rider upset at hearing a train operators’ child using the train intercom system to make one of the  announcements about arrivals or destinations.  Bryant said she thought the announcements by children were cute.

 As of late Friday, BART’s official spokesman had not replied to my phone and email requests for an explanation. In the past, however, BART officials have told me they don’t want outsiders in the train cab because of safety rules and potential distractions to drivers.

I’ll let you know when I hear back from BART.  



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