By Phil Matier

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — BART is making a clean sweep at some of its filthiest stations.

The cleanup plan isn’t just about sanitation, it’s also about creating a sense of safety.

The trains are crowed, often delayed, and when you step off in downtown San Francisco sometimes it’s like walking into a toilet and not a safe one.

BART rider Jose Castillon said, “I go maybe once or twice a week but my wife goes here every day and I honestly worry about her.”

Craig Schuler, another BART rider said, “I just got back from Tokyo, so compared to that, it is not at all clean.”

BART spokesman Jim Allison said, “We know. We smell the same things. We see the same things. Ridership is down about 3 percent.”

None of this is news to BART District 9 Director Bevan Dufty. He’s spent the past four months going out every week and personally helping to clean the stations in his district.

“What people feel is that there is a sense of lawlessness around BART. And it’s affecting our bottom line,” Dufty said.

We went to 16th Street Station in San Francisco with Dufty.

“This station has definitely improved in its cleanliness, but as you know, upstairs you’ve got fencing, you’ve got drug dealing, you’ve got crime,” Dufty said.

We came across a man sprawled out on the floor as we walked around inside the station.

Dufty asked him: “You want me to call someone for you?”

“No, I’ll be okay,” the man said.

Dufty said, “You’ll be okay, alright.”

One change is that clean up crews are working days as well as nights

BART spokesman Jim Allison said, “The idea, of course, is to have more people in the stations that need the most cleaning. Makes sense on the surface and you’d think we would have thought of this earlier.”

Dufty said, “We just added 21 new custodians to our budget so now we have 148.”

And there is another change.

BART is offering the homeless services.

“But there are a number of people who simply won’t accept that,” Allison said. “So BART police have the mandate to keep people moving now.”

There has been a drop off in ridership and that drop off could, according to Dufty, represent a $4 million or $5 million in lost revenue.

So in this case, it seems money is doing the talking and BART is listening.