OAKLAND (KCBS) – BART officials are trying to decide whether to keep its cushioned seats or replace them with something that’s easier to clean.
The transit agency heard comments from the public on Saturday, this following a recent investigation by the Bay Citizen in conjunction with San Francisco State University, which found that the cushioned seats harbor a lot more bacteria than most riders realize.
BART spokesman Linton Johnson said the agency has made cleanliness a higher priority in recent years.
“Every single day, crews are out there to clean up the train cars. They do the best they can,” Johnson said. “We spend about $600,000 a year just dry cleaning the seats. We’re taking out all of the old, tattered carpeting and putting in composite and rubber flooring that makes it easier to clean.”
The Bay Citizen investigation found high concentrations of nine bacteria strains and several types of mold on the seats, including fecal and skin-borne bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
Johnson said BART engineers are scouring the world to find a company best suited to build seats for the agency’s Fleet of the Future, which they hope will include seats that are easy to keep clean and well-maintained, while also being comfortable.
BART’s ultimate goal is to replace its entire fleet of train cars before ridership builds to 500,000 a day as predicted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the next 15-20 years.
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