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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

BART Spends Money Like Water - $2 Million for a Ramp?

BART Agent FAIL - Setting bad example

I'm curious to why it costs $2 million to build an ADA accessible ramp at Lafayette BART station. In today's Chronicle, there's an article mentioning about some accessibility issues after the ramp was built, but I'm just shocked at the outrageous cost to plan and build a zigzag ramp.

Does it really cost two million taxpayer dollars to build a ramp? Why should these government projects be such huge money wasters? If BART spent their money wisely on the ramp project, the decent remainder of the two million budget could have been used for smaller improvement projects. There's lots of way to spend two million bucks, from removing a row of seats to better accommodate bikes, renting a bunch of Rug Doctors from Safeway to deep clean the nasty blue carpeting, or even just keeping the money on reserve for a rainy day.

Here's other government projects that is just a laughing expensive joke:
  1. Two new Muni sales booths: $829,000.
  2. Board of Supervisors chambers ramp: $500,000 to $700,000.
  3. Central Subway: $1,600,000,000 (1.6 billion).
  4. Each portable Clipper card reader for Caltrain: $10,000.
  5. Yearly cost to advertise to people to stay away from the Castro for Halloween: $40,000.
  6. A one night alternative Halloween event at AT&T Park to steer people away from the Castro (and epically failed): $500,000.
  7. James Fang's BART failed cell phone failed RFID project (competing against Clipper): $350,000.

While I'm on the topic of BART, there's been word the agency will be spending on replacing the seats to new vinyl ones that will be easier to clean and won't absorb the infamous bacterias and other odd growth in the original fabric seats.

When you think about that, will BART be doing a half-ass job by only replacing the seats on about half the fleet?

Why do I believe they'll only do a partial job? Remember the nasty blue carpeting BART put in when they refurbished their train cars? The light blue carpeting made dirt, grime, food stains, and spills show up versus the original brown carpeting. BART decided to replace the carpeting with rubber flooring, either in the form of rubber tiles or a spray on flooring. After all these years, BART only did a half-ass job by only replacing floors on about half of the fleet, and to make matters worse, the flooring is not always the same; some have the tiles, others have the spray on with flicks of blue and tan paint to help make it non slip.


Anonymous said...

They are replacing the train cars, not just the seats. There is a survey on the website for what the new car design should be. The current cars are about 10 years old, so they will be retiring them as they did 10 years ago when they introduced the current blue seat ones (which replaced the old brown seat ones you may or may not remember). My guess is that it will be done in stages, same as last time, with trains having a mix of old and new cars for a while.

Anonymous said...

FYI, the survey is no longer available, but there is still information on the plan for new BART trains here: http://www.bart.gov/about/projects/cars/index.aspx

Anonymous said...

After all the Clipper Caltrain headaches, here's one thing worth spending some money on: the Clipper Add Value machines have arrived at the San Jose Caltrain station! They're not quite functional yet, but it's an exciting development nonetheless.