SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — For the first time, commuters heading into San Francisco will be able to ride on the newest generation of BART cars, transit officials announced Wednesday.
BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the system’s second batch of new rail cars forming a 10-car train will be rolling onto the transit system’s tracks by next week.
“By mid-next week we are going to have our second 10-car train in service and probably even more exciting it’s going to be going into San Francisco,” Trost told KPIX 5. “Finally, we’ve reached a point where we are able to send a train transbay — that hasn’t happened yet.”
The addition will increase the number new cars BART has certified for service to 20. Six other new cars are awaiting certification in the BART service yards.
“Having a second (train) gives us a lot of flexibility… to train more train operators…everything we need to do to really prepare to bring on more of these cars and carry more passengers,” Trost said.
BART’s first 10 new cars went into service in January after problems with the doors during a test were ironed out. State Public Utilities Commission inspectors certified them for use.
“Being able to see the trains in San Francisco is the great reality check,” Trost said. “This (new cars coming into service) is really happening. That’s where the majority of our riders are.”
The new cars have traveled through the transbay tube during testing, but they have not opened their doors for passengers to load at the San Francisco stations.
“There have been plenty of sighting in San Francisco, but they don’t open the doors,” Trost said.
She said production of additional new cars “is being to ramp up.”
“The latest estimate is that by the end of year we will have 80 new cars,” Trost said. “By summer of next year we’ll be near 200.”
As the new cars come online, Trost said, the system will still maintain and use the old ones.
“We want to be able to provide more service than we do now,” she said. “We will at some point start to retire the worst performing trains.”