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!