Published Tuesday, March 14, 2006, in the San Francisco Chronicle
Letter to the Editor
BART caused the chaos
When you hear a BART spokesperson say these fire incidents
happen every so often because of debris that catches on fire, then
they need to start cleaning out the tunnels every night when the
system is down, and once and for all get rid of those wooden areas
under the tracks.
Also, why isn't there an exhaust system on the trains to move out
smoke that enters the cars? An exhaust system would have lessened the
panic on the train. For the millions of dollars that we spent for
refurbishing these cars, they leave a lot to be desired from a safety
standpoint. Think of yourself standing in these cars as they fill
with smoke; people are going to start to worry.
Passengers should have listened to the train operator, otherwise some
very serious accident could have resulted, so they themselves are
partially at fault.
BART needs to understand that many of their passengers' lives are on
edge anyway, and it only takes something like this incident for them
to go over. To ask the train operator to put out a fire on the tracks
was a stupid thing that central (control) told him to do.
George L. Ramas
The 1.5-hour closure of BART on March 9 and the ensuing chaos was
the result of a systematic failure of BART to make timely and
frequent announcements throughout its system for disruptions in
service. Passengers are trained to take matters into their own
hands because they expect to hear no word from BART officials.
In the past month, I have waited for seven trains that were delayed
more than 10 minutes, and in only one case was an announcement made.
Perhaps BART does not want to call attention to its inability to stay
Furthermore, the March 9 situation would not have occurred if there
was not debris on the tracks to catch fire. BART closes every night
for five hours. Why doesn't BART take advantage of that opportunity
to clean the track area?