Thursday, July 06, 2006

Stick-on BART maps

Reader Rafael once again emailed me a very good point. I'm sure all of you guys (especially daily commuters) have seen the stick-on BART maps on the trains. Basically, in every cart, there is one large map board illustrating the entire Bay Area transit systems/connections, and on the left bottom corner, you have one 12X12 (apprx) inch square sticker that is plastered on top of the original map to show the new routes.

It looks cheap and tacky but I understand why they don't change the entire map. It would be too expensive and a poor use of our BART fares to change the map panel every time they extend or update a route (but of course, hiring staff members who could care less about customer service is not a good use of our BART fares either, but they still do it!)

Most of the stick-on maps looked like they were carefully stuck-on -- the routes and colors on the stickers connected perfectly with the routes and colors of the original map board. However, I have seen several maps where it was evident somebody just plastered on the corner sticker and the Fremont route is now part of the Richmond route, Caltrain route connected to nowhere, and the Peninsula has somehow enlarged and shifted to the north.

What if they extended the Dublin/Pleasanton route further? Will they stick a new sticker on the right bottom corner too? That really would be tacky.


Anonymous said...

The stick-on maps are the result of multiple negotiations and changes with the San Mateo county service. Initially, the stick-ons are done well, by "professionals", who put the 1400 stickers on cleanly and accurately.

Unfortunately, some passengers peel off the stickers, sometimes halfway, and other BART employees (or even other passengers) will attempt to put them back, sometimes with little accuracy. But, it's better than nothing, and a messy sticker is better than an out-of-date map.

As far as the changes, that's what BART and San Mateo county are doing. The funding and negotiations are in flux, hence the frequent map changes. San Mateo county pays, on a per-car or per-hour or per-mile basis, the cost of running in San Mateo county. This results in some packed Dublin-SFO trains. It's kinda hard to "leave" a couple of cars in Daly City, and "pick them up" on the way back from SFO, so it makes for crowding.

bartmusings said...

Thanks for the insight! Good to know. It's great to get BART perspective.