The Bay Citizen commissioned Darleen Franklin, a supervisor at San Francisco State University’s biology lab, to analyze the bacterial content of a random BART seat. The results may make you want to stand during your trip.
Fecal and skin-borne bacteria resistant to antibiotics were found in a seat on a train headed from Daly City to Dublin/Pleasanton. Further testing on the skin-borne bacteria showed characteristics of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, the drug-resistant bacterium that causes potentially lethal infections, although Ms. Franklin cautioned that the MRSA findings were preliminary.
James Allison, a BART spokesman, wrote in an e-mail that the findings were “not surprising,” considering that 330,000 commuters rode the trains daily. Last year, the BART police received 1,051 complaints of smoking, eating and drinking; 245 complaints of urinating or defecating; and 56 reports of spitting.
Honestly, every time I fly through SFO and take the BART the thing that always goes through my mind is why is there carpet on the floors (in the airport and train) and cloth seats on the train! IND had carpet in the old terminal and it was quite funky by the time we moved over to the new terminal and pretty nasty.
why is there carpet on the floors (in the airport and train) and cloth seats on the train!
The Metro in the Washington, DC area, of similar vintage, has similar amenities— and issues. Transit ridership had been imploding, so planners wanted to build "modern" systems that addressed everything people said they hated or feared about the subway. Escalators, air conditioning, food and drink bans, suburban stations with ample parking, video surveillance, and public art naturally coincided with carpet, which reduces noise and slipperiness, and comfy chairs to make the experience less clinical.
In practice, of course, money, engineering, management skills, and so on didn't always match plans, and the key to increasing ridership was not gum-free platforms as much as it was increasing the price of gas and increasing commute times caused by rising volumes of road traffic.