SMCo. BART software bug delaying trains by up to 30 min.
- 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@...>
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
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,
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
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 handa 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,
"We pride ourselves on having every train on time, we're trying to
nip it in the bud before it becomes something more problematic,"
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