Tuesday, June 20, 2006

BART train floors and the varying degrees of germ threshold

I saw a woman who let her 3 kids play on the train floors today. The two toddlers, in shorts, were sitting, the baby, in diapers, was lying around, on the worn out and stain-ridden carpet. If you don't know already, the carpeting on the BART trains is extremely filthy. You can find gum, dirt, spit, coffee stains, pen marks, trash, and food stains embedded on the carpeting, not to mention the microbial germs brought onboard by the hundreds of thousands of shoes that occupy these floors!

I know it's not a big deal for kids to immerse themselves in dirt. I mean, they play in sandboxes that are often hidden with old candies and plastic wrappings. But as a BART passenger who hardly even allow two of my fingers to touch the safety poles or the escalator handrail, it was difficult seeing these kids roll around the train floors, stamping their cute little palms on the carpet, and moving their toy trucks across the floors and onto their bodies! I felt the urge to hand them my bottle of Purell, but I held back, fearing the mom will think I am a freak.

Britney Spears recently got scolded by the public for changing her baby's diapers on the floors of a Victoria's Secret. Those floors, although dirty I'm sure, are mopped and polished daily (especially a store in Beverly Hills.) The BART floors might get a vacuum every so often if not a few times a week (gosh, I sure hope so) but it's not like the floors are ever steam cleaned or chemically treated.

I cringe when I see passengers sitting on the floors of BART, yet these kids are treating the train floors like a play den, rolling around and lying their little heads on it. Actually, once I felt so ill that I couldn't stand up during the ride anymore. But even at that point, I didn't sit on the floor, I merely squatted. I don't even let my purse or computer bag touch the floors, although once I allowed the computer bag to rest on my shoes since I was so tired from the long work day.

I've seen a few trains with plastic floors and plastic seats. I think that's probably the better way to go for future BART trains. It's much easier to mop and clean up stains on plastic and the trains will just last longer and look more appealing!


Anonymous said...

Normally I don't let my kids sit on the floor on BART, but the last time I rode BART, there were no empty seats. Having them sit on the floor was the safest thing for them... none of them are tall enough to reach the grab bars, and I didn't want to send them halfway up the car without me (had my youngest in a stroller and didn't want to block anyone in).

Thankfully my older kids are past the age where they're putting their hands in their mouths, and I used hand santizer on their hands afterwards.

bartmusings said...

Someone really should have given up their seat to you can sit next to your children!

Anonymous said...

No human being should come in contact with the floor of a BART Train....but the seats aren't any better.

I can't vouch for this 100% because I heard it second or third hand....but this is what I was told by a BART Police Officer:

Remember the fall of 2001 during the Anthrax scare? BPS and other BART personnel got pretty familiar with just about every white or whitish powder you can imagine. The sugar from powdered donuts, drywall dust, smashed cookies, baby powder....you name it. But, there was one seat cushion that stumped everyone, so the fabric was carefully sliced off, packaged up, and sent off to a lab for evaluation. The result?

"There is so much bacteria on this seat cushion that we can't tell if there was an Anthrax attack!"

"Wow! Your employees must have great immune systems!"

I didn't see the lab report, I only heard a rumor....hearsay at best, but I HAVE seen blood, spit, urine, vomit, feces, pus, semen, and amniotic fluid on the trains. I've been infected with scabies from riding the trains. I've been bitten by fleas on the trains.

It's science fiction at this point, but I halfway expect to hear that deer ticks are spreading through the system infecting people with Lyme Disease.

Someone should call for cultures to be done all over BART. If any kids need a really exciting science fair project....

bartmusings said...

I totally agree.

Anonymous said...

I used the train late night comming from Fremont. Because of this the train can get quite packed after a ball game. It only takes one time of watching someone puke all over the floor next to the doors to not want to come into contact with it.