September 20, 2010

350 words 2 mins read

The downsides of BART

Since I’ve started working for a company in San Francisco, I’ve been taking BART everyday for my commute. While I’ve ridden Bart many times in the past, this is the first time I’ve been doing it regularly. It is really nice and convenient, but I’ve found out, that like all things, there are some downsides.

Possibly the biggest downside, one common to all mass transit, is the fact that they are on a schedule. Unlike many mass transit systems, BART runs relatively infrequently. With the exception of during rush hours (which for them are quite short), the trains run once every 15 minutes (or once every 20 on the weekends). I leave my home station at about 9 AM, and even at that point the trains are down to 1 every 15 minutes.

The next “con” that bugs me the most: the homeless. I realize that by their very definition they are without somewhere to stay, but I really dislike it when they take up residence on the trains. All the normal issues apply (especially hygiene), but there is one critical difference: the BART system has no bathrooms. So what do the live aboard hobos do? They find a back corner and piss in it… Yea… Flipping awesome.

There is another expected downside too: other people. Most people aren’t that bad, but some of them are really inconsiderate. The train I’m on is often reduced to standing room only, yet there are still people trying to monopolize two seats. Then there are the people that don’t FIT in one seat and decide to sit down next to you. On airlines, there are stewards/stewardesses to make sure they pay for a second seat, no luck on BART and it sucks as BART seats aren’t much wider than your standard airliner (which is 17”, according to wikipedia).

Still, overall it isn’t that bad. Some train systems are perpetually running late ::cough::muni::cough:: and some are very unsafe. Even still, there are just a few things that ruin BART from actually being pleasant. Too bad I don’t see any way of easily fixing them.