BART’s Recent System Failure Should Serve as Dire Warning

BartBreakdown-blogOn Monday at 7:32 p.m. the trains just stopped running. A system-wide BART shutdown stranded thousands trying to get home from a day at the office or a night out at the ballpark. Others were stuck trying to get into work for an overnight shift. What may have seemed like an inconvenience to many was really a monumental failure by a transit system that serves as an essential part of our region’s economy.

Let’s hope this shutdown serves as a dire warning to elected officials and transit agency leadership that the potential for significant failures in our region’s public transit systems is very real – and potentially very costly.

Millions in Economic Activity Could be Lost

Especially given the fragile state of our present economy, it is unacceptable to let millions of dollars in economic productivity slip away. But think of what the cost could be to our region’s businesses and working families if BART were to shut down during a morning rush or busy work day. Everyone from essential employees to money-spending tourists could be locked out. Small businesses and giant corporations could suffer significant losses – in both their bottom lines and their productivity.

So when a BART spokesperson trying to explain the recent failure tells The Chronicle, “BART is nearly 40 years old, and some of the systems are even older than that,” we should all be very concerned.

If San Francisco wants to be an economic engine for the country, we need to have the transportation infrastructure to support it. But if BART and Muni can’t do their jobs, the sad reality is that many of us won’t be able to do ours.

BART has said that they will need $15 billion in upgrades over the next 25 years – that is obviously an enormous amount of money. But investing in our transportation infrastructure means creating jobs and investing in our economic future.

Stay tuned as we cover transportation – from BART’s computer crashes to the Clipper Card disaster to Muni’s ongoing meltdown. And please join us on Tuesday, August 23 as our first Reset Hot Button series launches with an in-depth look at improving public transportation in San Francisco.