BART Workers Keep a Dysfunctional System Running

Live Within Our Means?

Some of us have been told that the key to being able to make it in the Bay Area is to live within our means. Some of us have really taken that to heart in terms of the financial decisions we make on a regular basis. But with these crazy levels of inflation, how can we keep living within our means if everything is going up in price?

BART’s Conflict of Interest

BART’s Inspector General just released a report stating a current BART manager helped award around $40 million dollars’ worth of BART construction contracts to a company that this manager used to work for. On top of this, the manger’s spouse and sibling are current employees of the company that received these contracts. The contracts were awarded over the period from the end of 2020 through January 2022.

In response to the report, management denies they did anything wrong. Now a lengthy legal process will play out to determine if this was a conflict of interest for the manager. They can’t be serious, can they? You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see what went on.

BART’s Permanent Deferred Maintenance

BART’s crumbling infrastructure is put in the spotlight when a substation blows up, affecting service and operations in a major way, or disasters happen that are on mainline and/or close to the public.

But workers at any of BART’s five maintenance shops (including that for non-revenue vehicles in Oakland, OSA), see in their everyday jobs how deferred maintenance is causing problems. There are broken vehicles like ducks (electric carts used in the yards) and trucks that aren’t getting repaired. There are doors and heaters in the blow pits, for example, that don’t get replaced for years at a time (where temperatures get low during the winter, when everything is wet from newly cleaned trains and with strong winds whipping through!). Switches used by the “Move Crews” who move cars in and out of the shops have been dysfunctional for years and also present health and safety threats… and the list goes on and on.

It is a miracle that workers keep BART running the way it does with this level of dysfunction!