Rail cars of the future: Check out early concepts and give feedback


Rail cars of the future: Check out early concepts and give feedback

The BART Board of Directors heard a presentation Thursday about long-range plans for the biggest capital project since the original construction of BART – replacing the aging fleet of 700 rail cars, many of which date back to when BART began service in 1972.

The rail car replacement project is a $3.4 billion capital investment that will span more than a decade and require a coordinated regional effort. Goals of the project include accommodating projected growth in ridership while increasing reliability, ensuring rider comfort and minimizing impact on the environment.

The Board got an early look at the plan Thursday and will be asked later this year to give formal authorization to begin the procurement process.  A new section of BART’s website – www.bart.gov/cars  -- includes details on the  timeline and funding plans for the project, along with plans for outreach to stakeholders including community meetings this summer and fall, and a comment form where the public can provide input.

Questions from members of the Board covered broad topics such as how the new cars will accommodate seniors and people with disabilities; how easily the cars could be evacuated in case of emergency; and how passengers will get information such as announcements on upcoming stops.

Other design details – such as whether to have cushioned, fabric seats or rigid hard-surface seats – will come later in the process. Mock-ups will be provided so members of the public can actually sit on different types of seating and give them a test run.