BART is literally falling apart amidst a pile of excrement.
Originally opened in 1972, Bay Area Rapid Transit was once the envy of all public transportation agencies all across the United States. With its futuristic trains traveling at high speeds connecting various points of the East Bay and the peninsula to Downtown San Francisco, BART trains via the Transbay Tube gave San Francisco Bay area commuters a fast and inexpensive alternative to the always-gridlocked Bay Bridge and highways.
But fast forward four decades, the transit system is now an abhorrent mess. Its trains are aging and dirty. Many of its stations reek of stench from urine and human feces. And in certain areas the trains are downright dangerous, as teenage gangs blithely attack and rob defenseless passengers without any repercussions.
On Thursday, members of BART’s board of directors took a field trip after their biweekly meeting to “tour” the Powell Street Station in Downtown San Francisco. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the group was greeted by a fresh puddle of urine, homeless people sleeping in hallways, intravenous drug users, dirty floors, and elevators and escalators used regularly as restrooms.
This should really be nothing new to the overseers of BART, which in recent years has become another victim of Bay Area’s failed progressive politics:
- Allowed to unionize, BART operators have gone on strikes several times, the most recent in 2013, as wages skyrocketed for union members. To offset the labor cost, BART is now one of the most expensive transit systems in the world with train operators making more money than many of its riders.
- San Francisco and surrounding communities’ permissiveness toward vagrancy and homelessness has contributed to the deteriorating conditions of many stations. Most of the elevators in Downtown San Francisco stations are now inoperable as their mechanisms are destroyed by urine and human excrement after years of neglect.
- Stations in Oakland, meanwhile, have been the scene of marauding teenage gangs, but their activities have largely been unchecked by BART police. In fact, BART is actively trying to bury the crime statistics. In a leaked July 7 memo, BART management defended such practice because it feared that the reports would “unfairly affect and characterize riders of color.”
While what those board members saw — and smelled — at the Powell Street Station ought to shock them, chances are nothing will be done to substantively “fix” BART. To do so would require a certain amount of political will to enforce laws that simply runs counter to Bay Area’s progressivism. Since San Francisco is a self-declared sanctuary city that won’t even cooperate with federal agents to arrest criminal illegal aliens, it can’t be expected to crack down on much of anything or anyone.
As if on cue, that’s exactly the response from San Francisco’s politicians during BART directors’ tour: They made it clear homeless people can’t just be thrown out of the stations.
“We’ll talk with them, work with them,” said Scott Walton, manager of emergency outreach and services for the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.
And presumably, also clean up after them.