BART rider survey exposes standing issues

A new survey shows BART riders are less satisfied with service in 2014 compared to two years ago.

Overall, 5,600 riders surveyed said they were 74 percent satisfied with BART services, which is down by 10 percent from the previous rider survey by BART in 2012. BART’s Board of Directors went over the survey results at a special workshop meeting Thursday.

Riders who were able to find a seat on BART were more satisfied with the overall service (78 percent) compared to riders who were not lucky enough to find a seat and had to stand (67 percent).

The survey also said 66 percent of riders who found a seat said BART was a “good value for the money” while 56 percent riders who stood agreed.

Growing ridership is also one of the transit agency’s biggest challenges said BART’s Board President Tom Blalock:

“BART trains and stations are more crowded than ever before during peak commute periods, and we are proactively working to add capacity and address cleanliness.”

The transit system’s aging infrastructure is another challenge, said General Manger Grace Crunican.

She said the survey showed the importance of the current and planned projects to modernize the transit system and stations.

Other categories that saw large drop offs in satisfaction compared to last year’s survey include availability of seats (down 8.5 percent), station and evaluator cleanliness (both down 7.8 percent) and the temperature inside trains (down 7 percent).

BART officials said they plan to finish rehabilitating trains that have been out for repairs by July to address capacity issues. The transit agency has 89 trains currently out of service for repairs.

The transit agency said it’s also addressing the cleanliness of stations through its brightening program. The program has a crew sweep, steam clean and mop areas around the stairs and entrances around the stations. BART plans to send the crew to the Civic and Powell stations.

Inside the train, the transit agency has already replaced all the remaining upholstered seat covers with vinyl last year and plans to replace the carpeted floors with a hard surface, which will be easier to clean by the end of June.

BART is also upgrading air conditioning systems and replacing failed electrical controls.

Even with the dip in overall satisfaction, 89 percent of riders still said they would recommend BART to friend or out-of-town guest (down 3 percent from 2012).

Riders did give higher marks for the reliability of ticket machines, escalator availability and reliability and shorter lines exiting the fare gates.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said that this was a preview of some of the results and that the transit agency will release the full survey results in few more months.