New BART Train Cars Spending Time in the Shop

New multimillion-dollar Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train cars dubbed the “Fleet of the Future” have gotten off to a bumpy start, spending a lot of time in the repair shop.

According to BART records, the first 10 Bombardier cars, which cost $1.7 million to $2 million each, have needed 481 repairs since going into regular service in January, an average of 20 mechanical problems per car per month.

BART’s rail gauge is different from other rail systems, so the cars could not be tested at Bombardier’s facility in New York, BART spokesman Jim Allison said. Thus, BART had to do all of the testing itself. BART spent nine months testing the new cars on its rails, and passed a lengthy review by the state Public Utilities Commission before the cars were allowed into service.

“It looks worse on paper than it is,” Allison said, adding that Bombardier is responsible for the costs of repairs.

BART’s original schedule called for having 163 cars running by July 1, and the agency later upped the number to 198. However, ongoing delays have slowed the delivery, and currently there are only 20 cars in service and 10 still waiting to be unwrapped. (Source: San Francisco Chronicle, July 16.)

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