I've had the urge to write this post for quite some time, mostly fueled by the growing list rude comments left by BART employees in response to passengers' thoughts.
BART employees, the fact is, we all ride BART because we believe in the system, at least that's the case for me. I think it is a valuable service and Bay Area commuters are quite fortunate to have this option, especially these days with gas prices. In fact, if you somehow could survey my out of town acquaintances, most of them would tell you that my overall impression of BART is quite positive. If you've followed this blog for some time, you'd know that I've complimented SFO route plenty of times!
That said, PLEASE don't take it so personally and get so defensive when passengers say that the system does need some improvements. We, the passengers, pay pretty handsomely daily to ride the system, and we are entitled to complain when there is reason to complain.
Of course blatantly rude bashing is not constructive (although in their defense, these guys have the right to complain too), but over 90% of the comments on BARTMusings actually contain reasonable and thoughtful suggestions for improvements!!
If you just take a step back, read and consider what we have to say, it's not all that out of line. Many of us have traveled often and abroad and know the strengths and weaknesses of a system. Constructive criticisms and suggests are shared by commenters all the time on BARTMusings....I've even dedicated at least 8-10 entries just on realistic ways to improve BART.
So, please don't be so rude and leave comments like:
Passengers don't know what they're talking about, you're always wrong....
Whatever, you say what you want to say, just keep paying my paychecks....
If you don't want to ride BART, ride the bus...
You think we have nothing better to do?
You're lucky we haven't hiked up fares even more.....
BARTMusings is a forum for everyone, from riders, non-riders, first-timers, to employees, to share their thoughts and observations regarding BART. Many have said that whenever they leave a comment on bart.gov, the comment is not acknowledged. So, they need a website like this to voice their opinions. And I'm pleased to say that most commenters on BARTMusings leave well thought-out, constructive comments, instead of just plainly bad-mouth the system in foul language.
So, BART employees, just know that we ride because we believe in the system but we also want to see certain improvements made after more than 25 years in operation. It's nothing personal. We pay $6 - $12.50 a day to ride BART. Don't bash us with such comments just because we ask you to better the system.
you are too nice. its apparent that most BART employees don't get it - they think that they are doing passengers a favor by *letting* them ride *their* train. in most companies , employees have to earn their pay - they aren't simply entitled to it (except if you work for the government). seems like most BART employees would make great government workers as well.
Be careful that you don't overgeneralize as well. The abusive voices of employees in this blog are probably the minority as well. Without personally knowing any BART employees and only being an infrequent rider, I would guess that most are just doing their job and don't get involved whenever possible. Some fewer number are conscientious and trying to make things better, and there is also a number which probably fit your description of seeing the passengers as a bother.
If you are a regular rider, you would certainly know better than I, but I would hazard to guess that saying "most BART employees don't get it - they think that they are doing passengers a favor..." is probably being unfair to the majority of BART employees.
Most BART employees get it. They are trying to do the best job possible for the most passengers. Obviously, they don't have the time to explain every decision at every station, but, if you give them a chance, at the end of the line, when they have a little time, they'll explain all the technical details.
Train operators rarely get to make decisions - most of the time central is telling them what to do. In general, the TO's are on top of the game, but the game often gets changed quickly.
Station Agents are the true heroes (no I am not one) - they keep most of the goofballs off your train (and mine).
anon #1 might have generalized but not by much tho. when you ask a ticket agent a question, they give you awful attitude more times than not. i am sure there are employees that are helpful and responsible, it would be nice to hear from them here more often. i've seen some on here before.
ok. this doesn't apply to the employees who do "get it". but i've seen my share of those who don't "get it", especially those posting on this blog.
I also should add a disclaimer that by "BART employees", I certainly do not mean all. We all know some that deserve praise. Orinda and Lafayette stations both have wonderfully helpful agents! However, based on daily observations, one can't seem to get the Civic Center station agents to make eye contact with them despite standing in front of the window, talking, waving and tapping. Most are tourists asking for help too...what a way to show that SF is a welcoming city. When the agent finally acknowledges the person, they sound irritated and flat out hands the person the same booklet he/she already has in hand and shoos them away.
As a BART employee I am not a front line worker who must deal with the upset and disgruntled patrons daily, but work behind the scenes. Those folks, station agents, train operators, foreworkers (most I would like to think) do whatever they can to accommodate the patron and make the best decisions for BART.
Unfortunately many of us do not have a say in policy or how to resolve the 'no drinking or eating' on trains or why they are refurbishing trains instead of buying new ones. These decisions are resolved at a much higher level than the aforementioned BART employees.
As a previous poster commented, the game is ALWAYS changing, especially if there is some incident that is causing delays. TOs are to be commended for their work in the field to "keep their trains moving" but as was mentioned must take direction from another source (Central). This part of the the game the TOs rarely see, they listen to their radios and hear one side of the story and do the best they can. Hopefully there are announcements being made at stations and on trains in order to provide some information.
As an employee I ride to work every day, from N. Concord to downtown Oakland. I see what patrons see. I experience what patrons experience. I know how bad some of the cars are and how unhelpful some employees can be.
BM, your site is to be commended for the way you post your opinions and for those who read and post responses. As an employee you have me hooked, I read and post every day, hopefully I can help educate some of those riders to the best of my ability.
Regarding Station Agents...a short story...last year while at the El Cerrito del Norte Station at 415am on my way to work, there was a "shady looking character" hovering around the turnstyles eyeing passengers and not possessing a ticket, the Station Agent confronted him (in a very polite way) and he became verbally abusive and physically threatening. Me and "Newspaper Guy" came to the aid of the Agent, the "Shady Character" ran off. Afterwards,I went to the BART Police office, about 500ft away, knocked on the door, no one was home. Nevertheless, the Agent did notify BART Police, and you know who showed up...El Cerrito Police! Be that as it may, I for one understand the difficult job of a Station Agent and would not hesitate to come to their aid again.
There have been numerous times where I have have jumped into a situation because of an infraction. Two African American teens trying to fare evade and the funny thing, they jumped back over the metal fence and walked with me to thte station agent's booth. I have helped TOs sweep a train that has gone out of service, helped close or cut out doors that were causing problems. (some) BART employees are on duty when they are off duty. I do not mind at all helping patrons by answering questions or providing directions or helping to "police" illicit actions on the train. But I know that mentality is rare, I dunno. Like all paying patrons, I just want to get to and from work in a timely fashion with no problems. I know you can all relate.
Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it. ~Fyodor Dostoevsky
I constantly bitch on this forum...maybe we should have an entry full of goodies...maybe a what do you like best about riding/working (for) BART...
good stuff will come out when they do...it goes in waves. we all know what we like about bart but there seem to be more negatives lately, and that stupid bart board director's idea sure didnt help.
I want to tell you about a great station agent at the Castro Valley station. A few weeks ago I took a tumble and was on crutches and later a cane for about two weeks. Every morning when the agent saw me approaching the gate, he would call the elevator for me and the door would open when I arrived. He always makes a special announcement when the SF train is at the platform so that people can hurry to make the train.
This man does more than necessary and I'll bet there are a lot more like him.
That is really a nice story, dnd girl. Yes, same with the Orinda station agents. There are definitely good employees out there. It's just sometimes the comments posted by the few employees who read this blog can be so rude and condescending, or the private emails that I get. But we shouldn't forget the good guys out there!
The BART employee-apologists are a very small but vocal group who are known to attack anyone who says anything critical about the system. They take it personally because they or their friends' entitlement attitudes on the job are a huge reason the system is in such poor shape -- they know they're not doing what they should be doing.
However, that's a very small group of employees. Ignore them. Maybe they'll go back to work. :)
I've been a BART employee for 35 years, and have commented on this blog previously, though not rudely. Many years ago I was on a big job at the Pleasant Hill station. There were half a dozen BART trucks around the station during afternoon commute. I was in my truck cab eating my lunch with my work partner when a patron came up to the passenger window and asked, "What's going on? Looks like a big job!" My partner looked at him with disgust and said, "F**k off!" I felt about 1/2 inch tall. I was so embarassed. That employee is no longer with BART, although we still have people with similar attitudes. Jerks are everywhere. My job does not involve direct contact with the public, but I often volunteer to help when riding the trains. My job responsibilities have a direct impact on the BART passenger experience ... and I take very seriously my obligation as a public servant to deliver a quality product. The postings and comments I read here on BART Musings, and on BART Rage, have a direct impact on my workplace decisions. I can't always give you what you ask, but I do keep it in mind.
Anyone can say what they want but the problem with BART is it's management who refuses to manage. They are afraid of the employees, even when the employees want and need structure they do not have managers qualified to do it.
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