A BART elevator attendant helps a passenger with a cane take the elevator behind a new platform-level fare gate at the Montgomery BART station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Attendant program keeping BART elevators safe, clean expands to two more downtown stations

BART riders can expect clean elevators staffed by friendly attendants at Embarcadero and Montgomery stations beginning Wednesday.

Since it began last April, the elevator attendant program at Powell and Civic Center stations has nearly eliminated drug use and human waste in those stations’ elevators, according to BART officials. As of Wednesday, the successful program has expanded to include Embarcadero and Montgomery stations.

“The unwanted behaviors have been virtually eliminated by the presence of the elevator attendants and it’s easy to see why,” BART spokesperson Jim Allison said. “They’re working every minute the station is open.”

The attendants, from the nonprofit Urban Alchemy, stand in the elevators and greet commuters, effectively deterring people who would otherwise use them as restrooms or to consume drugs. They also keep records of who uses the elevators.

Urban Alchemy, once known as Hunters Point Family, helps youth and formerly incarcerated people of all ages obtain job opportunities, which BART directors consider a win-win for the community.

Allison said the agency hasn’t conducted any recent surveys to determine how the elevator attendant program is being received by riders, but that elevator cleanliness saw the largest year-to-year ratings improvement by the end of fiscal year 2019. According to the most recent rider survey results published in August, riders giving a “good” or “excellent” rating for elevator cleanliness increased from 42.8% in 2018 to 58.1%.

The elevator attendant program is a partnership of BART and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, whose Muni Metro subway shares downtown San Francisco stations with BART.

Expanding the program was made possible in part by a $2.6 million grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to fund it in 2020 and 2021. Renewal of the program at Powell and Civic Center stations, however, was not covered by the MTC grant, and those costs will be split by BART and SFMTA.

BART also unveiled Wednesday the first of its kind platform-level fare gate outside the elevator at Montgomery station. According to Allison, it is the only such fare gate in the BART system, tailored to the unique needs of Montgomery station. There are no plans to install more at any other stations, he said.

There also aren’t any plans to expand the elevator attendant program at this time, he said, but it’s possible that will change.

“That’s something for the Board of Directors to consider” and could only happen if they identify a source of funding, he said.

Bay Area Newssan francisco newsTransit

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

 

BART debuted an expanded elevator attendant program and a new fare gate at the Montgomery BART station on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Just Posted

Lakeshore Elementary School was closed in March shortly before SFUSD closed all schools due to coronavirus concerns. The district is now working to prepare all elementary schools to reopen by mid-January.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
School district preparing buildings for hybrid learning

SFUSD plans to use 72 elementary schools and 12 early education sites for first phase of reopening

There have been at least 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among workers at San Francisco International Airport. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supes back SFO worker healthcare legislation despite airline, business opposition

Costs of ‘Health Airport Ordinance’ in dispute, with estimates ranging from $8.4 M to $163 M annually

Thankfully, playgrounds that were closed due to the pandemic during the summer have reopened.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
The perils of parenting, COVID-style

At long last, it’s OK to take your little one out to play

Ten candidates are running for a seat on the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Community College District.. (Courtesy photos)
Strong leadership needed as City College faces multiple crises

Ten candidates vying for four seats on CCSF board

City officials closed San Francisco County Jail No. 4 on the top floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in September, reducing the number of beds in the jail system by about 400. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
SF jail closure prompts doctor to call for release of more inmates

Reduced space increases risk of COVID-19 spreading among those in custody

Most Read