Passengers, officials say a lot of work left to do after report shows BART made improvements

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- BART released its quarterly performance report, and they've made some progress, but passengers and transit officials agree there's a lot of work left to do.

What's your major gripe about BART? We asked a couple of riders at the Walnut Creek station.

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One answered, "BART to me is dirty. The trains are not that clean." Another rider answered the same, "It not being too clean. It's kinda dirty sometimes."

Cleanliness was one of the area's riders were sounding off about on BART's latest quarter performance report released during Thursday's BART board meeting.

Tamar Allen of the transit agency is spinning the results this way, "In overview, it was an excellent quarter."

In overview maybe, but in a few key areas, the news was not that good. For example, ridership was down from more than 419,000 last quarter to just over 405,000 in the most recent quarter.

BART's Alicia Trost says the biggest drop was in off-peak hours and on weekends. She also blames the smoke from last year's fires.

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"They weren't going out, they were staying home where it was safe so we're not too concerned about this quarter. Obviously, if it's something that continues, that would be a concern" she said.

Crimes against persons were also up to five incidents per million riders, from 3.8 the quarter before. BART Deputy Police Chief Lance Haight says they know why.

"This data is heavily driven by cellphone robberies, cellphone thefts."

ABC7 News asked Trost, "So what if anything can BART do about that?"

She responded, "One, we've really increased our rider education campaign, making sure people know it's a problem and what they can do to prevent it. Two-- increased police presence."

And according to emails we've received from riders, some problems persist.

One rider wrote, "I counted up to eight homeless or drug addicts on each car. I've seen drug addicts smoking their drugs and had to move cars, fearful of what I was inhaling."

Trost says drug users and homeless people may also be responsible for the dirty train cars some complain about.

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"What we know happens is when we push people out of the stations, they typically go onto the cars"

There was a good piece of news released Thursday-- bike thefts were cut in half, from 122 last quarter to 57 this quarter.

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