I tripped and fell (a half fall) this morning because as I was trying to avoid urine puddles outside of the Civic Center BART station, a homeless man shot out a substantial ball of spit out of his mouth towards my direction. The spit, more like a solid mass than liquid, landed about where my next foot step would land, causing me to maneauver a last second change in step, tripping over myself.
I arrived at work and glanced through the headlines on sfgate.com and saw Rachel Gordon's article today citing that there is growing dissatisfaction with BART train and station cleanliness. I agree with the survey results and the interviewees in the article. Issues cited were: "The new findings found growing concern about cleanliness, the noise level on trains, dirty station restrooms, the condition of the train windows, the appearance of the train exteriors, grubby stations and the availability of parking". It also cited a decline of 6.9 % in number of people saying that BART is clean. I want to know the percentage of riders who actually said BART was clean.
Cleanliness certainly is a huge problem with BART. I don't care much about noise level on trains, appearance of train exteriors, and I actually pay a bundle for my reserved parking space (expensive but beats circling aimlessly for a space or missing trains because of lack of parking). But, almost daily, I find something on the train or at the station that completely grosses me out. Yesterday, there was a sticky and wet cough drop just lying on an empty seat. Earlier in the week, someone apparently made an imprint of their oily face on the window-- I could see the facial definitions (through the oil imprint) and an imprint of the lips, complete with a small speck of a leftover crumb. And let's not forget my experience this morning with urine puddles and flying spit. Civic Center station just smells from all angles, inside and out! It is time to POWERWASH the station entrances and even the platforms!
What will be done about this? Is cleanliness a priority for BART? Does BART plan to make a visible improvement? The verdict is still to be determined, but I will be watching and observing closely.
I find it quite odd there are vast differences in the cleanliness of trains depending on what the train's home yard is. For example, I think Richmond trains (distinguished by the first car having a sloped nose) are usually the cleanest.
Some folks have pointed out this could be due to the shorter routes they serve, and that's a good point, but the difference is still quite pronounced. Why can't all the cars be that clean?
I find station cleanliness is really dependent on the stations you frequent. I go between Walnut Creek and Embarcadero and rarely find the stations overly dirty. In contrast, the Civic Center station is the worst I've ever seen of any BART station....
For the trains I think there's some real challenges there. When should they clean them? At the end-points? During heavy commute times the trains arrive at the end-points and turn right around. No time for cleaning.... The example you mention that really strikes me is the cough drop. Gross to be sure, but what, really can BART do about this? You mentioned that it was still wet, so it was unlikely to have been there very long. I think it's unlikely that a cleaning crew would roam the trains cleaning them along the route...
There really isnt much BART can do about food left on seats in between rides. Passengers and their sense of responsibility are to be blamed instead. If only there was some way for a cleaning crew to quickly sweep up the trash and pick out the wrappers stuffed in between seats at the end of each route (do they already? or only at end of each night) that would help the situation.
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