Why Not Honesty?

The BART system explains why it was down recently.
@shakatron BART was built to transport far fewer people, and much of our system has reached the end of its useful life. This is our reality.

— SFBART (@SFBART) March 17, 2016

@tquad64 Planners in 1996 had no way of predicting the tech boom - track redundancy, new tunnels & transbay tubes are decades-long projects.

— SFBART (@SFBART) March 17, 2016

@lisabari To illustrate this point - the number of people who exit at 19th street in Oakland has doubled in less than a decade.

— SFBART (@SFBART) March 17, 2016

@CBonneaux We have to fix what we have first - our system was built to last about 45 years and we've reached that limit.

— SFBART (@SFBART) March 17, 2016

@cliberti We have 3 hours a night to do maintenance on a system built to serve 100k per week that now serves 430k per day. #ThisIsOurReality

— SFBART (@SFBART) March 17, 2016

@cliberti The magnitude of repair projects is too great to do during our 3 hour maintenance window. 1/2 the time would be spent staging.

— SFBART (@SFBART) March 17, 2016

The last trains are leaving the end of each line within the next 15 mins - it's been a great conversation. Goodnight. #BayAreaRidesTogether

— SFBART (@SFBART) March 17, 2016
Twitter is not the ideal way to communicate, but they managed to make it work.


douglas said...

How many billions to build and run these systems, at a loss most of the time (SF may be different, I don't know), and they only have a 45 year lifespan? AND you can't really do maintenance on them without shutting them down for prolonged periods, and we haven't bothered to even start on projects to accommodate the traffic increase, though they take at least a decade, if not two or longer?

Yeah, light rail is a great idea (/sarc). If anywhere was the perfect place geographically for rail transit, it would have to be SF, and if they're having problems making it work there, I have no hope that it'll be a realistically useful addition to transportation here in Los Angeles, or in most other places.

Grim said...

Good point. I was thinking something similar: seriously, all this money and it's got to be replaced that soon?

Gringo said...


How many billions to build and run these systems, at a loss most of the time (SF may be different, I don't know), and they only have a 45 year lifespan?

The 40-45 year lifespan appears to be standard. From Instpundit posting on the Washington DC Metro:
The oldest part of the Metro opened in 1976. That means Metro is 40 years old – max. Much of it is actually newer than that.

Forty years after opening, Metro already faces a maintenance crisis.

This should give other regions pause when it comes to building a rail transit system. My colleague Alex Armlovich points out that NYC has more or less been on a 40 year refresh cycle, with two rounds of major system investment since the subways opened. This doesn’t seem out of line as a capital life heuristic to me.


douglas said...

I'll have to check that out. It may well be a quite reasonable life cycle for such a system, so my critique would be the cost when viewed in that perspective, which they never tell you about when they propose these things.

douglas said...

Thanks, Gringo, that was good. Especially this comment:
p dawg
If only there were personal-sized trains that didn't require rails. Then people could drive wherever they needed to right when they needed to. And if people don't want to own these mythical transportation devices, other people could own them and rent them out on a per-trip basis. I know these ideas are revolutionary, but I think they have promise.
19 hours ago Like (11)

Ymar Sakar said...

That money was spent on union perks, union ceo luxuries, and other kickbacks skimmed from the cash.

It's all gone. The stuff spent on the actual system? Maybe 25%.