BART trains out of service; commuters crowded

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- BART trains are always more crowded in the fall, but this season riders have to fight for space like they never have before.

"Lately, they've been getting pretty crowded. We can't even stand sometimes. I have to wait for the next train when they come by," San Pablo resident Traboy Bates said.

There are two reasons why passengers are struggling to find a seat these days.

First of all, last week, there were a few days when 430,000 people climbed on board. A year ago, that number was 391,000. There are more riders, and then there is the second problem.

"Trains seem shorter, there's less 10 car trains. That tends to make it more crowded," Orinda resident Don Bliss said.

There are fewer trains, but BART says it's for the passengers' own good. They are pulling out 10 cars a day for a newly launched rehabilitation project.

"We are tearing out those nasty, dirty carpets and putting in cleaner floors. We are giving you the new wipeable seats and we're giving new air conditioning units, which is great for the rides," BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said.

Add in the 100 cars that are typically out each day for repairs, and it creates a big problem.

"Kind of tough. I'm a big guy, so it's even harder for me. I carry a lot of stuff going to school. I have a big backpack with all my school stuff, and it's real tight in there," Bates said.

"The biggest thing you can do is take off your backpack and put it on the floor. It takes up a lot of space and you're wacking people in the face with it when you keep it on," Trost said.

Another tip is for passengers to use the entire train. Officials say people don't typically move to the middle of the train but it could really help in this situation.

"These rehab projects aren't going to be done until next year, so we got to get through this period and then hopefully we'll have some more trains out and available," Trost said.

Some new trains are on the way, so relief is coming but not for a while. Those trains aren't scheduled to arrive until 2017.
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