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New BART cars quieter, smoother, better for riders

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BART has finally put its Fleet of the Future into service. The transit agency debuted 10 new rail cars today. (KGO-TV)

The first train featuring BART's brand new, high-tech railcars went into service today. VIP's and invited guests took the first ride this morning between the MacArthur and Richmond stations.

RELATED: BART's fleet of the future put into service Friday

ABC7 News was at the Pleasant Hill station as BART Director Debora Allen raced to get on one of the old BART trains with her special guest - second-grader Carter Johnson, who asked for a ride on a new train for Christmas. He was pretty chill when he found out that he got his wish.

According to Carter: " I didn't really say anything, I was just excited "

They got to Oakland's MacArthur BART station in time for the ribbon cutting.

Then we boarded the train for the run to Richmond. These new cars feature three doors instead of two to making getting on and off quicker. The trains are quieter - no more lurching starts and squeaky starts.

And BART GM Grace Crunican described some of the new amenities. "When customers get on these trains they're going to feel lumbar support at their backs, they're going to have more room to put luggage under their seats, room to move around," she said.

RELATED: BART's new trains failed key safety inspection

They'll also find air conditioning vents placed at the top of cars for better circulation, and electronic signage so they know where in the system they are.

Engineers have spent more than a year making 2,900 modifications for passenger comfort according to project manager John Garnham,"to see passengers sitting in the seats and not just 2 or 3 of us on them diagnosing problems has been wonderful."

Retired BART spokesman Mike Healy wrote a history of the rail system. He rode on the first train in 1972 and rode on the new trains today. He says the cars are state of the art. "In a way I think these new cars are a symbol of BART's success because they carrying so many more people today than was even anticipated back in the 70's," he said.

More new cars will come on line in February. After that it will be 16-20 new cars per month through 2022.
Total cost of the project -- $1.5 billion.

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Related Topics:
trafficBARTmass transitpublic transportationtransportationOaklandMillbraeSan Francisco
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