SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Investigators with Bay Area Rapid Transit are still trying to figure out why a relatively new section of rail in San Francisco failed on Wednesday between the Civic Center and 16th Street stations.
10-inches of rail broke in between the two stations, causing commuter chaos for hours, while BART tried to fix the problem. Commuters faced delays and crowded trains, as the transit agency had to single-track through the damaged area, with limited service coming in from the East Bay.
Passenger Peggy Johnson was stranded in downtown San Francisco with a dwindling supply of oxygen in her portable tank.
“That’s outrageous. That should never happen,” she said. “Those tracks should be checked all the time.”
BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said the tracks are in fact checked every night and the damaged section was a new piece of rail installed just last year.
But she said BART is 43 years old and while new trains are on the way, the rails they ride need to be replaced too.
“We have a $10 billion capital need. Luckily, BART has identified funding for half of that,” Trost said. “It leaves our unfunded need at $4.6 billion. And that’s not even really to expand the system, that’s to take care of the current system.”
BART is expected to put a bond measure before Bay Area voters in 2016 as the transit agency tries to come up with some of that money.