BART supplied an almost $100 million repair Thursday for an impediment that commuters typically encounter initially or finish of their rides: out-of-service escalators.

Most of the system’s rolling staircases are actually 40 years previous, creaking alongside nicely previous their 25-year expiration dates. They’ve grow to be reservoirs for syringes, rainwater and human waste that sticks to the wheels and gears. It received so unhealthy at Civic Heart in 2012 that BART needed to name in a hazardous supplies staff.


So the Board of Administrators voted Thursday to award a $96.5 million escalator substitute contract — the most important in BART’s historical past. Funded by Measure RR, the $3.5 billion normal obligation bond that voters authorized in 2016, the challenge will set up and substitute 41 downtown escalators at Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell and Civic Heart stations.


Twenty-two of these escalators stretch from station concourses to streets, whereas 18 prolong from concourses to platforms. BART will add one escalator on the entrance close to the Orpheum Theatre.

The contract delighted Board President Bevan Dufty, who described escalator restore as a “whack-a-mole” recreation and stated it’s grow to be harder to draw and retrain employees to do it.

He recalled assembly a younger escalator repairman at Civic Heart Station who had spent a yr on the job, and was already serious about quitting.

“Throughout his first month of labor, a person with a hatchet chased him out of the station,” Dufty stated of the repairman. “I simply don’t know why individuals fuss at these poor escalator restore individuals a lot.”

Board Director Rebecca Saltzman stated BART fields fixed complaints about its malfunctioning escalators, notably within the downtown San Francisco stations.

“These are essentially the most unreliable fashions, and so they’re additionally essentially the most closely used,” she stated. Salzman famous, additional, that these stations are deep underground. It’s an actual hardship for individuals to make use of the steps, particularly in the event that they’re carrying strollers or baggage, or in the event that they’re encumbered by mobility issues.

What frustrates individuals essentially the most, stated BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost, is when an escalator opens after being out of service for months — solely to interrupt down once more the next week.

She attributes these mishaps to fixed battering, vandalism, inclement climate and different types of abuse. When components fail, the company has to have the elements fabricated, since a lot of the machines are so previous that their producers are not in enterprise.


The escalator retrofits coincide with a separate effort to construct canopies over station entrances in downtown San Francisco — curved, glassy, futuristic coverings that assist fend off the weather. These new architectural options will defend escalators from breaking down in the course of the 10-year contract.


Rachel Swan is a San Francisco Chronicle workers author. E-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @rachelswan


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