Passengers frustrated with BART delays

Michael Pittman was anxious as he waited for his BART train at the Powell Street station on Tuesday morning.

He was late for work again as BART service was hampered with delays caused by a train being stuck in the Transbay Tube, which was then followed by further setbacks because of unrelated police action in San Francisco.

“It gets tiring after a while,” he said while waiting for his Dublin/Pleasanton-bound train. Pittman said he dealt with 30-minute delays last week; on Tuesday, he was waiting for 20 minutes and still hadn’t seen his train. “I understand there are issues sometimes, but after a while, you have to look for alternatives.”

Commuters waited up to 50 minutes, according to BART spokesman Linton Johnson, but said since both incidents occurred on westbound trains going against the morning rush into The City, about 80 percent of the train’s ridership was not significantly affected.

“I have to attend some meetings this morning so it’s causing a disruption in my workload, but there’s not much I can do about it,” said Parm Rahi of Oakland. who works in San Francisco.

Tuesday’s delays came on the heels of a track problem just beyond the Daly City station last Wednesday when the computer system stated a train was stuck on a switch, forcing trains to drive at slower, manual speed. The problem caused delays into Friday. Tuesday’s delay was the train service’s fourth major delay since May.

The first incident occurred at 7:51 a.m. Tuesday, when a Richmond-bound train leaving the Embarcadero station stopped in the Transbay Tube because it had a mechanical problem with the control panel in the operator’s car. Johnson said the control panel could most easily be described as the driver’s steering wheel and added that trains have gotten stuck in the tube a couple of times in the last two years.

About an hour later, technicians boarded the train and moved at speeds of 5 to 10 mph to the West Oakland station but not before creating a 50-minute logjam for all trains leaving The City. Westbound trains were only delayed about five minutes, according to Johnson. Both problems were cleared by 10:15 a.m.

Just as trains were getting back to normal, a call at 9:14 a.m. reporting three suspicious men getting on a train at the Glen Park station caused another 15-minute delay, according to Johnson. Police searched the stopped train at the Montgomery station and found nothing. There were about 55 to 60 trains affected by Tuesday’s delays, Johnson said.

sfarooq@examiner.com

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