BART’s new fleet sees the light of day

If you blinked, you might’ve missed it—last weekend BART slowly rolled out (get it?) a test model of its new fleet of trains for some of us to “oooh” and “ahhhh” over. SFGate has details on upcoming tests if you didn’t catch this one:

Overnight testing for the train should start in the next two weeks, said Paul Oversier, assistant general manager for BART, with daytime runs starting in December and tests with passengers starting in early 2017.

According to that same SFGate post, some people who did get to ride lodged some complaints:

Regular BART commuters from Pleasant Hill and elsewhere into the East Bay bemoaned the lack of seats available on the new cars. Already, the current cars with four more seats are overcrowded, they said, and standing for an hour commute isn’t exactly comfortable.

Changes from the current fleet include: more standing room, higher ceilings, a more-efficient AC system, three boarding doors per car (versus the current two), and better ways to secure bicycles. BART’s plan is to have 775 new cars by 2021 to try to keep up with an ever-expanding ridership.

Hear our best Muni stories live on stage! Muni Diaries Live is back on Nov. 5 at the Elbo Room. Tickets on sale now!

Election Guide 2016 for the transit-savvy voter


You might’ve noticed it’s election season. While the contest for commander-in-chief has tempered many of us in an anxious, sour marinade over the last several months, let’s not forget the hyper-local measures on our SF ballots this year — particularly those relating to public transit. Rather than advocating for one measure or candidate, consider this a pointer post for all the pertinent transit-oriented ballot measures.

Every vote counts, so read up and get out there on Nov. 8. Those “I voted” stickers won’t wear themselves.

BART Board of Directors Districts 7 and 9

The BART Board of Directors comprises nine elected officials representing the nine BART districts. Each member serves a four-year term, and two of those districts have open seats. District 7 includes, among several East Bay stations, Montgomery and Embarcadero stations. District 9 is entirely within the city of SF, including the 16th Street Mission, 24th Street Mission, Glen Park, Civic Center, Powell Street, and Balboa Park stations.

Prop J: Funding for Homelessness and Transportation

Prop J aims to amend the city charter to allocate an initial $50 million per year for homeless services and an initial $101.6 million for transportation services over the next 24 years. An approved proposition would also include scheduled increases over that period. The transportation improvements would be paid through a Transportation Improvement Fund, which would subsidize the cost of transportation for low-income seniors, youth, and people with disabilities, as well as to upgrade the existing fleet and infrastructure.

Prop K: General sales tax

There’s no Prop J without Prop K. Both have to pass in order for anything to take effect, because the sales tax increase (Prop K) would fund all the improvements for the homeless and transportation services outlined in Prop J.

Sales tax increase, you say? Yes. A yes vote on Prop K would increase the city sales tax from 8.75 percent to 9.25 percent.

Prop L: The SFMTA Board of Directors

Prop L proposes amending the city charter to split the appointment authority for the SFMTA Board of Directors between the mayor and the Board of Supervisors. Currently, the mayor holds all appointing power to that board. Additionally, a yes on L would reduce the number of supes needed to reject the SFMTA budget from seven to six.

SFMTA is the agency that manages any and all Muni “stuff.”

Prop RR: BART infrastructure improvements

A yes vote on RR means you’re in favor of the BART powers that be increasing its debt, via this $3.5 million bond measure, to garner the funds needed to upgrade the aging system’s infrastructure. Such improvements include replacing and upgrading the system’s tracks, tunnels and train-control systems.

The SF Transit Riders Union put together their first-ever election guide. In addition to spotlighting candidates that have put legislative money where their mouths are in terms of public-transit advocacy, they’ve made endorsements on these ballot measures and more if you’re itchy for more knowledge.

Hear our best Muni stories live on stage! Muni Diaries Live is back on Nov. 5 at the Elbo Room. Tickets on sale now!

Pic by moppett65535 on Flickr

A map for all Bay Area transit


Maps are the best, especially when us regular folks take map-making into our own hands.

Latest example: Jug Cerovic sent us the map you see above. Jug writes:

All rail options are shown + ferries and cross bay buses. Muni

is there of course. The map is schematic but close enough to geography so that you can get a feeling of scale and distances.

Check out Jug’s site for more info on how the map was made.

This map is so thorough, right? I’m sure some of you will find discrepancies or have suggested edits. If so, have at it.

Otherwise, join me in admiring Jug’s handiwork. Bravo!

Previously on Muni Diaries

Interactive map shows where SF’s streetcars used to go

Check out this visionary Muni Metro map

New map plots hotels to BART stations for transit-minded visitors

Mario BART Map Is Hella Tight

Digital underground: ‘Tron-like’ art installation coming in 2017


It’s also pew pew and Minority Report, don’t you think?

Illuminate is an upcoming transit-oriented art installation by George Zisiadis and Stefano Corazza. It looks and sounds pretty cool: Starting in 2017, LED lights blinking overhead on Market Street will correspond to the movement of BART and Muni Metro trains underground, according to a Business Insider report.

To ask the obvious “joke not-really-a-joke, for real though…” questions: Is it just a stack of different, stationary colors at 6 p.m. rush hour? Does it go backward when the trains are late? ’cause that would not be the future I ordered.

All half-jokes aside, our transit makes a lovely muse for public art — intentional or not. Verdict: Neato, provided it’s not powered by a frighteningly sentient MCP.

BART sign hacker reserves priority seating for new types of riders


Someone with crafty tiny scissors and some stickers amended this BART priority seating sign for a new batch of under-served groups. Eagle-eye BART rider Deirdre O. spotted this gem and points out, “the guy with the cane has a top hat, and the pregnant person has an alien bursting from her belly. You can’t see it well in the photo, but the alien has dozens of tiny sharp teeth.”

We approve of this leap of imagination!

Other signs in our hacker hall of fame:

Muni roof “emerge” sign
Move to the back, or to this best neighborhood in town
Station agent’s new posture
Fun is not allowed on BART!

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