As much as we can blame BART for not doing more to keep the trains clean, or not maintaining the condition of the seats and carpeting, one thing I need to point out is the drastic difference between transit riders in Japan and some of the Bay Area passengers. Drinking and eating on trains are allowed in Japan. In fact, there are snack shops, vending machines, bakeries, restaurants everywhere around the stations and even on the platforms. I see people bring in breakfast rolls, coffee, canned iced tea onto the trains, and take bites and sips during the ride. However, what I also see are people meticulously cleaning after their own messes, and even the mess of others. Passengers, upon leaving the train, not only always dispose of their own trash, they also pick up loose pieces, if any, (whether it's napkin, an extra lid) left by others. Hey, I'm sure Japan has their litterbugs too but from what I observed daily, most people are very considerate.
Of course there are also people in the Bay Area who are cautious about not leaving any type of mess on the trains too, but it's generally those that break the no food/drink policy that don't care enough to clean up after themselves. As I've mentioned before, I've seen people eating Taco Bell and dripping sauce all over the seats and don't care. We've all seen coffee spills...yet the very next day, the same spiller brings in coffee yet again.
I'm not saying that it's the fault of passengers that BART trains aren't as clean as we'd like, but we also need to reflect our own actions. Most of you who read this blog are probably not the rule breakers though! Neither am I, although I do sneak in a piece of gum or Jolly Rancher into my mouth during rides....and don't worry, I always put away the wrappers so it's not left on the train :)