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BART Gives Public A Look At ‘Fleet Of The Future’ For 1st Time

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BART board members applaud after unveiling a model of the car to be rolled out by next year and in full use by 2017. (CBS)

BART board members applaud after unveiling a model of the car to be rolled out by next year and in full use by 2017. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF ) – Bay Area Rapid Transit’s fleet of the future pulled up to Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco on Wednesday, the first in a series of events intending to give riders a closer look at the new cars.

The model train will also be shown off throughout the Bay Area over the next several weeks.

BART has been touting the new train as all aluminum and energy efficient. But as with anything new, there are those who like the change and those who do not.

One of the biggest complaints BART riders have is how loud the trains are. The new cars will have so-called micro-plug doors that will help keep out the noise and will be quieter to those who live near the tracks.

“The people wanted us to find a way to give them a quieter ride. I think we’ve accomplished that,” said BART Board President Joel Keller.

BART has the oldest fleet in the country and the first of the 775 cars ordered will begin arriving in 2017. Eventually there will be a thousand new cars.

“I think the customer satisfaction of the ride is just going to be incredible,” said Grace Crunican, BART’s General Manager.

The new cars will have double the number of seats and handholds. Those grossed out by the current upholstery will find the new seats are easier to clean and BART is promising that they’re more comfortable.

“The seats are a vinyl material, they are thinner, higher and the seat backs are narrower. There’s lumbar support, which was very popular with our riders,” Keller said.

But the new cars are not popular with people with disabilities.

“They had people test the mockup when the mockup was empty,” said BART rider Bob Planthold.

When the new car is full, Planthold said there will be less access for people in wheelchairs. There are brightly colored seats designated for people with disabilities and seniors, but Planthold said this design has already proven to be inaccessible.

“Washington DC has used the same car, the same design, the same manufacturer, they had problems,” he said.

BART says it’s already modified the design based on the public’s input and plans to meet again with riders with disabilities.

“It’s nobody’s desire to deny access to anyone,” Keller said.

The first of 10 new demonstration cars will be in the BART system by 2015.

Here’s a complete list of times and locations to check out the new car via BART:

San Francisco—Justin Herman Plaza
(Near Embarcadero Station)
April 16, 2014 | 11:30am–7:00pm

West Oakland Station
April 18, 2014 | 2:00–7:00pm

Fremont Station
April 21, 2014 | 2:00–7:00pm

Pittsburg/Bay Point Station
April 23, 2014 | 2:00–7:00pm

San Francisco—Civic Center Plaza
(Fulton Street near Civic Center Station)
April 25, 2014 | 11:00am–7:00pm

North Berkeley Station
April 29, 2014 | 2:00–7:00pm

Milpitas/San Jose—Great Mall
Main Transit Center
(Great Mall Parkway & S. Main Street)
May 2, 2014 | 2:00–7:00pm

Dublin/Pleasanton Station
May 5, 2014 | 2:00–7:00pm

Fruitvale Station
May 7, 2014 | 2:00–7:00pm

Concord Station
May 9, 2014 | 2:00–7:00pm

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