Thursday, June 12, 2008

Anyone else feeling his pain? Complaints from a frequent Fremont line rider

I got this email from a very frustrated Fremont line commuter. I feel for him....BART often minimizes the negative impact for PR purposes (what else can they do?) This rider's total commute time has increased almost 3 fold and he actually found out the truth behind when Hayward power station will be fixed...hint: MUCH longer than the publicly stated 6 weeks!

You've got to read his email.....(Thanks again for sending!) Speak up if you are just as frustrated! BART needs to know!

*****

I am a frequent commuter on the Fremont Line. Since BART "blew up their power station" in the Hayward Yard, their PR people say it only causes a 10-15 minute delay and will be fixed in 6 weeks. Well, I have a beef with that. Read on, my friend...
MORNING COMMUTE FROM EL CERRITO DEL NORTE TO FREMONT
If you take the 423a, 438a, 453a, or 508a, you will not need to transfer at Bayfair to get to Fremont. But, you still crawl at a snails pace (literally!) once past Bayfair. But, if you take the 523a or any train thereafter, you WILL have to transfer at Bayfair, takes about 10 min of waiting, then more snails pacing on to Fremont.
MY TOTAL COMMUTE MORNING MINUTES ON BART BEFORE THE BLOWOUT: 59 min.
MY TOTAL COMMUTE MORNING MINUTES ON BART AFTER THE BLOWOUT: 74 min.
AFTERNOON COMMUTE FROM FREMONT TO EL CERRITO DEL NORTE
The delays are not 10-15 minutes, they are on average 30-40 minutes. This time includes standing and waiting at the Fremont Station, then having to board an SF train, as there are no Richmond trains going to Richmond (just to Fremont). Then the train literally crawls (I can get out and walk faster) from Fremont to Bayfair, then we all have to get out and "transfer" to a Richmond train, this entails waiting 20-30 minutes on the Bayfair platform.
MY TOTAL COMMUTE AFTERNOON MINUTES ON BART BEFORE THE BLOWOUT: 62 min.
MY TOTAL COMMUTE AFTERNOON MINUTES ON BART AFTER THE BLOWOUT: 94 min.
This "problem" has increased my commute, round-trip on BART by 47 minutes, NOT the 10-15 min the BART PR people say.
Oh, yes, from Bayfair on South, you can no longer depend on the message signs or the
voice notification. The times they announce are completely off. Useless is more like it.
Here are the stats:
Then, to make matter worse, I spoke with one of their Electricians who happened to be on my train one morning, he said that it will take a few months, NOT 6 weeks! to repair the burnt out electrical station (not sure what to call it, but you can see it all blackened as you pass through the Hayward Yard).
I really hope they fire the numbskull who short circuited everything.
Do you know of other BART riders who are upset like me?

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually you "crwal" (27 MPH) once you depart South Hayward going TO Fremont and "crawl" norhtbound once departing Union City because the trains are not in automatic between these stations.

Overall, it does add 12-15 between THESE TWO STATIONS running in manual mode as opposed to running in automatic. I am sure it is a inconvenience for those traveling through this portion of the system.

Figure 4-6 months before it's fixed. Hopefully there can be automatic through that area sooner, which would allow better service.

Anonymous said...

HALLELUJAH! Someone else feels my pain!!!! BART we know the truth!

Anonymous said...

The Truth....The way I hear it, the BART incident could have been avoided . Human error and arrogance caused the problems. The fire was human error, but the tower, well that was a short man's arrogance showing! A short man with a big ego, who should have listened to those who told him not to try and run a train, until the problem was fixed....why he has a job is anyone's guess.

Anonymous said...

I too am a Fremont Line rider. Why does the BART PR machine always understate the problem. I also want to mention one more thing that has changed since this "incident": It seems to be a common occurrence now with "OUT OF SERVICE" trains approaching and stopping at the Bayfair and Fremont stations. They come in saying "OUT OF SERVICE, DO NOT BOARD", then stop, open the doors, and suddenly, they say "board this train for Richmond". This leads to a cattle call type last minute mad dash by everyone on the platform, as we all expected the train to be out of service.

Anonymous said...

Will heads roll at BART for this mistake? I certainly hope so. I was on a train last week, overheard two BART employees say that no disciplinary action will be taken because it has gotten "political". huh!? makes me very angry.

Anonymous said...

I just saw this on the BART website (posted 6/11/08), it appears to be an update on the Hayward Yard problem:
http://www.bart.gov/news/press/news20080511.asp

I think they should offer discounts to those who have to deal with these service delays, all because of a dumb idiot's mistake.

Anonymous said...

They absolutely should offer a discount. It's no longer the same quality of ride and service. It is painful for commuters like us. How come they take it so lightly? It is a terrible inconvenience for those of us who are already busy with work but can't afford not to and don't have enough time to spend with family as it is.

Anonymous said...

Yup signs on trains (from Richmond) will show out of serivce (okay they should) when it approaches Bay Fair because lemmings will board up these trains that are technically out of service, but will become the next in service train departing Bay Fair going to Richmond.

Anonymous said...

Instead of "Out of Service" as they approach Bayfair, why not switch the signs and voices to say "Richmond-bound train approaching the platform" as the train is approaching the platform, why do they need to keep the signs and voices saying "Out of Service" even after the train stops at the platform?

Anonymous said...

the way I hear it is, the person who should be fired on the spot for lack of judgement, is on admin leave and will be given the option to retire with all their benifits. So, if you are directly the responsible for doing millions of dollars worth of damage (which BART has to pay, not insurance), cause hunderds of people in the Bay Area to have to suffer for your arrogance, nothing happens and you get to retire with full pension, this is an OUTRAGE, where is the media in all of this?

Anonymous said...

I am sure for PR purposes they are fixing it as fast as they can. I am just hoping the time frame they gave is good. Might take months to totally fix, but maybe the 4-6 week thing was to resume full speed in the area.

One of the comments said its an outrage to have the employee retire or be fired.. What do you want? them to keep working? Have that employee write a check to fix the problem? If the persons been on the job 20 years with no problems, let the person (or scapegoat) go.

Anonymous said...

They started leaving an update handout at the affected stations yesterday. The post here contains a link to a scanned copy.

Anonymous said...

Empoyees losing their pensions over bad/dishonest conduct only happens in the movies or TV shows. If the employee has an accrued benefit there is nothing he can do to lose his pension.

If the person is "allowed" to retire or gets fired he will get the same pension.

Anonymous said...

BART is notorious for LYING about the length of any delay. They always say it's much less than it is. I actually submitted a comment from their feedback page on this not too long ago. Of course, their reply was rather lame. Then again, I was surprised to actually receive a reply.

I think people need to complain on their 'feedback' form. Who knows if it'll make a difference with their lack of communication, but they apparently read the comments.

http://www.bart.gov/guide/overview/comments.asp

bartmusings said...

I've left a few comments about various issues but never got a reply! I'm surprised they responded to you! That's already a step forward, ha!

Anonymous said...

It's funny how many comments I see about patrons who think BART is doing nothing but sitting on their collective a$$es. Do you really think that is the case?

Of course PR is going to spin any negative situation into a positive, when has that NOT been the case in any sort of incident which caused disruption. God forbid we have another big earthquake that renders more of the system inoperative or non-ATO, how many more of you will complain that BART is doing nothing to resolve it. LOL.

Don't like it, go ride the bus.

Anonymous said...

"
Don't like it, go ride the bus."
yeah that would be a typical attitude. And when it is contract time, you will wjine anout lack of respect.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that BART will rebuild enough of a power station to get enough electricity into that area, so trains can go full speed. And will come up with some kind of temporary control system, to replace some of the controls in the tower. These controls are necessary to allow the trains to go full speed in the area between South Hayward and Union City. Time frame? probably another two months?

The yard, and the switches will still (probably) be manually run, for a long time. Time frame? Six months is optimistic, maybe 8 months?

As far as the platform signs, they are horribly linked to the automatic control computer and it is difficult to "manually" change them. Usually, central can only pick among a few options. Since it is automatic, sometimes the train information "jumps" to a nearby train (which explains some of the run-throughs along Market Street).

Anonymous said...

I heard that ABC-7 News' I-Team is investigating into "what really happened" at the Hayward Yard. Look for the story soon. It should be good.

Anonymous said...

LOL, yeah get journalists to get to the "trurth" that's funny.

Anyway, as I understand it, there was a flyer put out in haste to the patrons that explained the "recovery" plan. But it did not contain a realistic timeline. Oversight? Mistake? Who knows...rumor? Possibly. Trying to cover it up? Sure.

I never did see any of these flyers, maybe one of you did...

Anonymous said...

Buying a ticket of value more than you need for one way is not worth it! The tickets get demagnitized even if you're careful.

Today I bought a ticket for $21 and rode from Civic Center to Pleasanton. Although in a sleeve, the ticket (surprise!) got demagnitized. I had to see the agent, a filippino employee who spoke broken English). He deducted my one-way fare and gave me back my demagnitized ticket, adding, " You'll have to change it at Civic Center if you go there again. I said, "I still have $16 on it; can't you give me new ticket with that amount on it?" Of course, foolish me, i should have known it was "IMPOSSIBLE" says he. So i inquired how i would get to work on Monday with a demagnitized ticket. He simply stated, "Well you'll have to spend more money to get there." But... (i started saying), to which he replied, "I'm not going to argue with you." Great, I said; that is ridiculous. End of story.
Please, BART, can't you do a better job of training your employees in Customer Service? Also, why is it so difficult to give refunds on tickets or simply give a voucher to use with the money you've already spent. What a wast of time. Not worth spending more than you need for one way - and one way only.
By the way, after being so unhelpful, the agent simply stated, "Good luck." Yeah, I thought, good luck to me and others who depend on this greatly-flawed system; unreliable at best.

Anonymous said...

I was issued a citation for failure to pay for parking at the Fremont BART station today. I have proof that I had paid for parking with my EZ Rider account. The officer J278 obviously did not bother to open their eyes to look at my EZ Rider pass (which was attached to my rearview mirror as per their instructions).
It is the laziness and arrogance of these so called "Government Officials" that is costing the public time and money. This is unacceptible. Why must we spend time to appeal a citation when it is the error of a lazy individual who did not carry out their duties properly? If this person was in the private sector, they would be penalized for their error.
These people should try to work a day in the private sector. Perhaps they will know how it feels to be late for work and have to provide an explanation.

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Anonymous said...

One phrase for original poster "que exagerrado"....this seems awfully exaggerated.

Robiraw said...

Hi my name is robi and a month ago i used the ashby bart came back with out my keys. So i thought. I found a wire and even though i have AAA i spent 10-15 mins trying to get in. A bart cop watching and even said later it looked like i was the owner by the way i was poking around. Still he refused to let me show id untill he grabbed my wrist spun me around and slammed me down on the car next to my van. I am 55 with a life long back thing and he hurt me to the tone of 1500 dollars at the doc already. There internal affairs only wanted me to come down and look at pictures to identify the officers who they already had identified.
I need help here does anyone have any suggestions
robi raw

Robiraw said...

When the bart officer approached me out of the bushes he was angry and me telling him it was my van and i had id in my pocket that seemed to make him madder. he seemed to have an agenda and that was engaging in a violent act against me. Like a pit bull who could not help himself. Then he mocked me and harrassed me

Robiraw said...

Hi my name is robi and a month ago i used the ashby bart came back with out my keys. So i thought. I found a wire and even though i have AAA i spent 10-15 mins trying to get in. A bart cop watching and even said later it looked like i was the owner by the way i was poking around. Still he refused to let me show id untill he grabbed my wrist spun me around and slammed me down on the car next to my van. I am 55 with a life long back thing and he hurt me to the tone of 1500 dollars at the doc already. There internal affairs only wanted me to come down and look at pictures to identify the officers who they already had identified.
I need help here does anyone have any suggestions