The San Francisco Bay Area is consistently ranked among the best for public transit, thanks in part to the accessibility of BART to many millions of residents. But it’s no secret that our transportation system could use some updates and upgrades. BART has been in service for more than 40 years, and it’s still using the original train cars. So we’re sure we’re not alone in our excitement about the New Train Car Project.
BART has now completed construction on the first new train car body, and the pilot cars are scheduled to arrive in Fall 2015. The “fleet of the future” will feature several upgrades that are a direct result of customer feedback. For one, they’ll be quieter, significantly cutting down on that epic screeching noise as you go under the bay. They also have improved cooling systems that distribute air directly to the ceilings, so no more sweaty rides on hot days. And the seats now have wipeable fabric, making them much easier to clean. (You may still want to pick up some hand sanitizer from our partners EO Products, though.)
Additionally, each train car will now have three doors instead of two, with the extra door located in the middle to make entering and exiting more quickly. Most cars will also have three bike racks, to more offer riders a more secure, dedicated space for their bikes. The information system has been improved for easier navigation among the BART system: car interiors have digital screens and the exterior signs will display the route color as well as destination.
With these new cars, BART also committed to taking a lifecycle approach to sustainability. The new cars needed to be extremely lightweight, so they’re constructed out of aluminum--an easily recyclable material that requires relatively little energy use during construction. While running, the new trains need significantly less energy than their predecessors as well. They’ve also improved the regenerative braking system to increase efficiency.
We don’t know about you, but we can’t wait for this fall.