BART gears up to prevent service disruptions from Public Safety Power Shutoffs


BART gears up to prevent service disruptions from Public Safety Power Shutoffs

BART has been in contact with PG&E as the 2021 wildfire season approaches in anticipation of the eventual implementation of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).  PG&E may turn off electricity in designated areas to lessen the threat of fires.  BART is using lessons learned from the past fire seasons to do all we can to safely keep our trains running despite a potential PSPS.  In 2020 & 2019 BART was able to maintain regular train service despite PSPS activity.

BART has taken precautionary steps to limit impacts to service from these temporary power shutdowns.  This includes deploying backup generators in advance at stations that are in the area of a potential PSPS.  BART has the flexibility to pull power from other sections of our traction power supply system to continue train operations.  Critical safety systems such as tunnel fans are protected by a combination of installed and portable generators.  All BART stations have emergency back-up lighting systems.

BART’s preparations for a potential PSPS have been bolstered by experiences from previous years.  BART has been able to keep trains running and critical systems up by working closely with PG&E to identify which of our 12 switching stations that receive PG&E electricity was most vulnerable. BART then adjusted to ensure that, if one switching station was blacked out, another station could supply the electricity necessary to run trains. For BART riders, the only noticeable impact in 2019 from PSPS was that three stations did not have escalator service. BART used generator power to keep the elevators, lighting, ticket machines, and other stations functions operating.

PG&E’s website has more details on conditions that may prompt a PSPS, specific areas that may be impacted, and more on what you can do to prepare your home and family.