Saturday, March 29, 2008

Once again....excess luggage on BART needs solution!

For whatever reason, Friday afternoon's ride home also included many passengers returning home from SFO. I walked in and at least 8 empty seats were taken up by people's suitcases, golf bags, and carry-ons. Generally, at Civic Center Station, there are plenty of empty seats left, and eventually, by Montgomery, they get filled up. But this Friday, every seat was taken, by people or by luggage pieces.

I don't know if these SFO passengers were newbies or what, but no one even bothered to remove their excess baggage from the empty seats to let actual PEOPLE sit.

I walked in and immediately spotted someone who had a golf bag leaning against an empty seat-- I told the couple, "Can you move this aside a little so I can take this seats? Thanks."

They acted like if I am asking them to give up their child or something, but reluctantly, they moved aside the golf bag, squeezed it in between them, and I took the adjacent seat.

There were at least 7 more seats taken by various passengers' luggage. One couple was so over-packed that they had suitcases and carry-ons that piled on top of TWO empty seats. It's quite ridiculous really, especially since they never took the initiative to move the luggage underneath their feet, or just pile on top of their laps, in order to let standing passengers sit.

By Embarcadero, the train was at max capacity. A few people boldly asked the SFO passengers to remove their luggage from the seats--- you'd think they would comply, but they sure didn't do it without making a big fuss and giving some major attitude.

They say...

"where am I going to put all this?"
"what do they expect us to do with our suitcases?"
"we got here first."

Though I was already seated, I wanted to tell them off, "if you are so worried about where your luggage should go, why don't YOU stand UP, and put your luggage on your own seat?" Before I contemplated saying this aloud, another woman pretty much read my mind, and told the couple to stand up if they insist on letting their luggage take up empty seats.

The couple was shocked by the request. I don't know what was so precious that was inside their luggage but he actually vacated his seat and put his luggage on top of it.

By MacArthur, all the luggage-occupied seats were vacated.

Once again, I just have to say that yes, BART to SFO and back is a wonderful convenience but luggage occupancy is a BIG issue. The demo cars offer more room, but not enough still, and they don't prevent people from insisting to pile up their suitcases on top of perfectly good empty seats.

Can BART post a sign? BART neophytes really need to learn some basic courtesy.


Anonymous said...

What is your solution to this "problem" on BART? I mean we can all sit here and nick pick and complain as riders, but do we ourselves have any solution on how to rectify the problem? You can't limit the hours of luggage on cars. You can't keep luggage out of the first car. So what is the solution?

I agree with you, placing luggage or any other non-human entity in a seat on a crush loaded train is rude, but unfortunately that is the mentality of some riders, both experienced and new. As you mentioned, if it were me, I would be standing or pushing my suitcase (if it fit) under the seat.

I don't have any solution to this problem. When I was flying weekly, I could fit everything into one suitcase that slide nicely under my seat (if I had one), Coliseum to Pleasant Hill.

With as little ridership on the line from Daly City south, I don't think anything is going to be done. All daily riders will have to deal with this problem. Maybe BART, if and when they get new cars will develop a luggage only car in the trains that go to the airport. Doubtful, but we can always dream.

bartmusings said...

I've written about possible solutions before. Like raising the seats a little more so suitcases can more easily fit underneath. The extra space in the new demo cars definitely help out too. The problems that I described in this particular blog entry have to do with passenger etiquette and of course I don't expect BART to solve that, but there are little improvements that can be made around the car to fit more suitcases.

Anonymous said...

"Where am I going to put all this?"

"Gee, last time I checked, the floor wasn't just a hallucination. Seems like a pretty safe bet to me."

Anonymous said...

How long was your train? Spring break, Sunday nights often make for short trains with lots of luggage. But, on Fridays, there are the turnback trains that don't get the luggage. Just wait 5 or 10 minutes for a train that hasn't been to SFO.

Send a comment card to BART, or write your board member. BART needs to look at the high-luggage days as another event train situation.

Anonymous said...

This post could be about less-than-thoughtful behavior for large objects generally on BART--luggage, bikes, etc. The thoughtless luggage thing is rude--even if, hypothetically, the luggage people are somewhat out of it after 24+ hours of jet-lagged travel (although somehow I manage not to put my luggage on a seat when returning from such a trip). However, I also don't understand the bike people who sit in one of a pair of seats with the other vacant and their bike blocking access to the vacant seat. Not a problem if a train is mostly empty, but if not, stand with your bike next to the door on the side that won't open for awhile.

ChefenCasa_V said...

Hey!, I'm planning to travel to SF in a couple of weeks and I'm interested in using the BART service to get from the airport to my hotel (Civic Center Station). The thing is that I'm not really sure if my luggage is going to fit beneath my seat (I don't know if this space is big enough)
Any suggestions?
P.S: my suitcase is pretty big, probably about the size of a 6 year old child.

bartmusings said...

miss lulu extraordinare-- welcome to SF. i think the best thing for you to do is put your luggage near the open space and area by the train doors, while sitting as close to it as possible. good luck! have fun in SF!

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm coming in to the area and planned on using Bart from the Oakland airport. It sounds like there is a luggage problem. Great planning california! Trains to and from the airport with no place for luggage, only in America. I hope none of the complainers EVER set anything on a seat. And by the way, if there is luggage in a seat it isn't "empty" :)

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