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.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (11)
  1. A Reader says:

    There was a scathing article about BART’s filthy seats in NY Times, and I frankly could not wait for BART to get rid of the cloth seats!

  2. ShariR says:

    My friends and I all ride public transportation including BART, and for years we’ve all made it a policy to wash our hands when we get home or at least use hand sanitizing gel as a preventive measure against these very same bacteria. I am an organ transplant recipient and I can’t afford to be on my deathbed just from riding the train. I shudder to think how many riders out there DON’T stop to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.

  3. Bay Area guy says:

    Wouldn’t it be cool if they made the seats locally? Make them from a recyclable materials , something with the least environmental impact and cost effective.
    Just a thought.

  4. ptown says:

    how long as BART been in operation? And for some reason, BART can no longer keep the seats clean? I agree the seats are filthy…what changed? why will the non cushioned seats be kept any cleaner if the same people are cleaning them?

  5. Jay Tomjanovich says:

    Fecal matter on the seats?

  6. Bart says:

    Yes replace the seats for the good of everBody

  7. Clarence says:

    I know I may catch some flack for saying this ….. but if you go back to the early 1960’s when General Manager B.R.Stokes and the first BARTD Board of Directors decided that in order to get people out of their cars and onto BART ….. it was decided that a soft cushioned and wide comfertable seat (being able to seat those whose waist line was “a little bit big”, so not to impose their body onto the other person sitting next to them) …. was the best option, since riders have soft seats in their cars, and since the average person is sitting for 40-45 minutes on a seat, that if the seat is a hard plastic type material ….. that people won’t ride. Just keep in mind what was thought of nearly 50 years ago to “attract riders” onto BART. If you change things too much now ….. you might be shooting yourself in the foot, but that my opinion.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Watch & Listen LIVE