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SMCo. BART software bug delaying trains by up to 30 min.

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  • 2/9 UCB Daily Cal
    Published Wednesday, February 9, 2005, in the UC Berkeley Daily Cal Technology Gets BART Off Track Software Glitch Blamed for Recent Train Delays By Sonja
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 9, 2005
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      Published Wednesday, February 9, 2005, in the UC Berkeley Daily Cal

      Technology Gets BART Off Track
      Software Glitch Blamed for Recent Train Delays

      By Sonja Sharp <ssharp@...>
      Contributing Writer

      BART commuters can continue to expect system delays of up to half
      an hour, thanks to a glitch in the system that controls the tracks,
      BART officials said yesterday.

      Trains are being forced to stop on a 10-mile stretch of new track
      between the Colma and Millbrae stations because of a malfunction
      in the track-switching mechanism, said BART spokesperson Linton
      Johnson.

      A computer bug causes the system to lose track of switches for
      hours at a time, though trains are delayed for just a few minutes,
      he said.

      The first couple of trains to go through a switching area that is
      out of commission have to stop and manually fix the problem, Johnson
      said.

      Ripple effects of the glitch have been felt throughout the system.

      "If you're coming from Berkeley on the Richmond line, you're going
      to get delayed," Johnson said.

      The computer system experienced three delays this week alone, though
      most delays are minor, Johnson said.

      "You have maybe half a dozen trains that are delayed an average of
      seven minutes," he said. "Once in a blue moon you'll get a delay
      that's a half an hour."

      This involves the driver getting out of the cab to crank the switch
      by hand—a process that regularly takes up to 10 minutes but can
      sometimes take almost half an hour, he said.

      Once the switch is cranked, the area is termed a problem until the
      computer software can be reconfigured.

      The cause of this problem is still unknown, but BART currently has
      crews working to address the fault, and hopes to resolve it soon,
      Johnson said.

      "We pride ourselves on having every train on time, we're trying to
      nip it in the bud before it becomes something more problematic,"
      Johnson said.

      BART has received few complaints about the delays, most of which
      are probably too small to notice, Johnson said.

      As for passengers concerned about delays to the airport, Johnson
      said they do not need to worry about missing their flights.

      "By comparison, I'm sure their flight is delayed a heck of a lot
      more often then our trains are," Johnson said. "We have a 90 percent
      on-time rate. You find an airline that has that kind of success rate
      and I'll retract my statement."


      [BATN: See also:

      Column: Software bug plagues SMCo. BART
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/22708 ]
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