BART addresses record low approval rating at annual workshop

The discussion amongst BART's board of directors at their annual workshop on Thursday opened up with a strong statement from their general manager.

"Trains are on time and we've really hit it and we've hit perfection," Grace Crunican, BART's general manager said. "But, when you walk on that train and it smells to high heaven and you have a gag reaction, you got to get off the train or you got to ride in it uncomfortable."

Crunican hit right on the nose of one of the largest issues the Bay Area is grappling with, homelessness, and in turn safety. Those elements were just two of the concerns made by more than 5,000 customers in a recent survey.

RELATED: New report shows BART approval rating hits record low

BART's approval rating has hit a record low. Customer satisfaction was down to 56 percent this past year.

"We have a reinvestment plan and I think the magic is really what can we do now to respond to the concerns our riders have?" said BART Board of Directors President Bevan Dufty.

VIDEO: BART Board President reacts to low customer satisfaction rating
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BART Board President Bevan Dufty reacted to new, record low approval ratings for the transit agency.

That reinvestment plan is called Horizon 2027. This year there will be major changes like the Silicon Valley extension, a youth fare discount program, more than 40 new escalators, 24 new canopies, 1,200 new cars and maybe an ambassador program.

"I'd like to have BART employees that are trained in de-escalation that are riding the trains," Dufty said. "That's what riders want to see."

Thursday's discussion was just that, a discussion. What next? How do will BART improve now? 2019 needs to be better.

VIDEO: Why some people are calling BART gross, dangerous, disturbing

"We understand our riders are unhappy and we respect that," Dufty said.

Nothing was voted on during Thursday's meeting. It's held to give the board a clearer direction for where they're headed for the year.

Take a look at more stories and videos about BART.
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