Wednesday, March 23, 2016

BART falls apart

Randal O'Toole takes a critical look at BART's problems:

...In response to these problems, BART sent out a series of less-than-apologetic tweets to its customers listing a variety of excuses for its failings. “Planners in 1996 had no way of predicting the tech boom---track redundancy, new tunnels & transbay tubes are decades-long projects,” says one. “BART was built to transport far fewer people, and much of our system has reached the end of its useful life. This is our reality,” adds another.

The agency is apparently arguing that it needs more money, but it’s really making the case against a rail transit technology that can’t quickly respond to changes in demand because it is to expensive and time-consuming to expand. 

For example, instead of doing basic maintenance or expanding capacity where it was needed, BART–--like the Washington Metro–--decided to build new lines that aren’t needed and that will only add to its long-term maintenance woes.

One such unnecessary line is the $6.5-billion route to San Jose, which won’t be completed before 2025 and is redundant anyway as San Jose already has commuter trains to San Francisco. Another is the Oakland Airport Connector, a 3.2-mile rail line that cost half a billion dollars and charges $6 fares while buses on the same route cost only $2.10...

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