Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It's also up to the passengers!

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 :)


Anonymous said...

so what you're implying is that there isn't a single person in Japan who would make a mess on the train?

bartmusings said...

no, i am not implying that at all. i just added a sentence in case there are others who might jump to that conclusion on my behalf.

SongMonk said...

I always clean up after myself, but one way I differ from the Japanese passengers you describe is that I don't clean up the messes of others.

It's, like, icky. :-)

Anonymous said...

It's Japan's culture I think. And I agree with the previous anon, Californians are pigs and as much as I point my finger at the patrons, I also point it at the BART employees, some who are just as guilty when leaving their trash behind.

There is only so much time when trains get to the end of line for EOL cleaners to do what they need to do. I agree BART has to take a portion of the responsibility, but so does the ridership and I don't see them getting any better any sooner.

Anonymous said...

I'm a train operator. One Saturday night, after coming out of the Richmond breakroom tower told me "You have a new train on transfer 1". This meant that I wasn't taking the train coming in, that train was out of service.

I walked through the new train, and noticed all six cars had been cleaned, quite well I would add. Maybe a piece of cellophane or a tiny scrap of paper - i could tell that the car cleaners had enough time to clean this train and did it well.

An hour later, I reached Fremont, and started walking back. Every car had enough newspapers, food wrappers, beverage containers, retail packaging, etc., to fill two trash sacks. I could not walk more than three seats without having to kick something out of the way! Every car. And a passenger remarked - "Don't you ever clean these trains?" I told him that this was a perfect train an hour ago, this is the litter of one run!

It is amazing how much litter is left on these trains!