UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.
Foot traffic in many stations actually appears to be lighter than usual, according to witnesses.
UPDATE, 3:55 p.m.:
The track repair near the 16th Street station is complete, according to BART, which is also reporting that power is restored to the East Bay stations that were dealing with an outage earlier.
BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said it will take several hours for the system to resume normal travel times.
UPDATE, 3:20 p.m.:
BART riders in the East Bay now have even more delays to contend with, due to a PG&E power outage and possible transformer overload in the Bay Fair area. That's causing significant delays in the East Bay.
“There are multiple PG&E crews and BART crews actively trying to repair service,” BART spokesman Taylor Huckaby said, adding that there was no estimated repair time for the power outage.
UPDATE, 3:02 p.m.:
Travel on the Bay Bridge seems to be impacted by the BART delays as well.
According to 511 traffic reports, as of 3:02 p.m. there’s a slowdown on Interstate 80 eastbound between northbound U.S. Highway 101 and the Bay Bridge, and traffic is moving between 0 and 25 mph.
There are slowdowns throughout the Bay Area in areas near the bridge, from Interstate 80 and the Interstate 580 split at the MacArthur Maze in Oakland to Interstate 80 in Oakland. Traffic is moving at less than 30 mph.
UPDATE, 1:56 p.m.:
BART now expects repairs on the deformed trackway to finish by 4 p.m., spokesman Taylor Huckaby told The San Francisco Examiner.
“It is a 10-inch section of broken rail,” Huckaby said of the deformity. “We have repair crews on site and are updating the repair estimated time from 4:30 to 4 p.m.”
A reported deformity on BART’s trackway between the Civic Center and 16th Street stations in San Francisco is causing major delays systemwide Wednesday morning, and the agency expects the evening commute to be impacted as well.
“This deformity will require repairs,” said Alicia Trost, a BART spokeswoman. “This repair job is estimated to take five to six hours and will bleed into the evening commute.”
BART has closed one of its tracks and has only been running trains on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line completely through San Francisco.
East Bay riders heading into The City on other lines are being advised to transfer at Oakland’s MacArthur station to get a train to San Francisco.
BART is providing shuttle service from the Millbrae station to the airport.
The agency said AC Transit in the East Bay and Muni in San Francisco have both pitched in with beefed up service to help BART riders. Passengers with BART tickets can ride AC Transit for free across the Bay Bridge.
“We are asking passengers to seek alternative forms of transportation,” Trost said.
Video from Twitter users stranded at BART stations show people packed shoulder to shoulder, filling entire platforms as they wait.
BART track deformities have plagued the system before, prompting BART to slow trains over three dozen “hot spots” due to fears of possible derailment, multiple news reports say.
“They find the tracks in poor condition, they can’t repair immediately and have to slow down,” said Tom Radulovich, a member of BART's board of directors. “There are a number of places in the system where we’re operating below the [state] mandated speed.”
BART is also facing more than $9.6 billion in major infrastructure repairs and upgrades and station expansions, among other needs. The agency plans to go to the ballot box soon to seek that funding.
A California state auditor report issued at the end of April said trackway issues will likely persist without further investment.
“Most of this infrastructure is over 40 years old and is at, or close to, the end of its useful life,” the report states. “In fact, BART staff estimate that $6.5 billion of BART’s infrastructure is now in poor or very poor condition.”
“It’s a major issue,” Radulovich said of BART’s infrastructure needs.
Many riders tweeted their frustrations Wednesday morning:
@MrJosh925 Major delay in/out of SF due to track equipment problem at Civic Center. Please seek alternate forms of transportation
— SFBART (@SFBART) May 6, 2015
Yall gonna update us on the situation or wait 2 hours to tweet again telling us it'll take another 5 hours for this delay? @sfbart
— Ant (@SincereBC) May 6, 2015
It's always horrifying when you read headlines that start with “MAJOR @SFBART DELAYS” *sobbing* *dry heaving* *crying to the heavens*
— littlebomeep (@littlebomeep) May 6, 2015
Now @SFBART reports a “deformity” in a rail between Civic Ctr & 16th St Mission is to blame for this morning's commuter chaos. It continues
— Doug Sovern (@SovernNation) May 6, 2015
— Doug Sovern (@SovernNation) May 6, 2015
— Dylan Reichstadt (@dylanlive) May 6, 2015