BART Replacing Decade-Old Seats: Class for Your Ass, At Last

Categories: Public Transit
Disgusting BART seat.jpg
Skateboarder Mag
BART is replacing its legendarily nasty seats -- and cleaning out unwanted souveneirs like this bottle of urine
Back in June, it was reported that BART was sinking three quarters of a million dollars into cleaning its cars. Now, the miracle of transubstantiation may or may not cause any liquid spilled on a BART train to become urine. But $750,000 is still a lot of change for a scrubbing.

It turns out, however, that BART wasn't budgeting to merely clean 51 train cars, but to replace 3,468 seats. Some of those seats, BART spokesman Jim Allison reveals, were 10 years old -- five times older than the recommended age for replacement. And that replacement effort is now under way.

This project is being funded, incidentally, via a chunk of the millions of dollars BART unexpectedly found itself flush with -- that inspired contrived, foolish notions of a temporary, minuscule fare rollback

Here comes the math: BART will spend some $688,500 to purchase stuffing and covers for 3,468 seats (that comes out to about $198 for each double seat). The work will be undertaken by BART's own unionized workforce. On top of the $688,500 for parts and labor, around $61,500 will be tied up in disposing of the soiled seat covers and stuffing; dry-cleaning seat covers that are un-nauseating enough to avoid the dumpster; and actual "cleaning" of the cars.

Thumbnail image for Crowded BART.jpg
Will Harper
How many rear ends graced that BART seat before yours?
Here's some more math -- but less reliable: Allison is uncertain if there's an internal estimate on exactly how many posteriors land in a BART seat daily. But here's our ballpark (train yard?) estimate: BART's daily ridership is 335,000. By our rough -- and we do mean rough -- estimation, BART has about 680 different train runs a day -- or half that if you consider the return trips. For the sake of argument, let's say each train is eight cars long. There are 68 seats on each car.

Granted, you'll get a lot more people cramming onto a commuter train than the last ride to Bay Point. And, yes, many people don't get seats. But, roughly, 500 people are handled by each individual train run per day. With 544 seats on an eight-car train, that would mean each seat is sat in about twice per day (we're cutting the number of runs in half to account for trains heading from terminus to terminus and back). Extrapolate that over 10 years and that means 7,300 other people have shared your seat.

That math seems a bit less reliable than a BART schedule. In any event, the situation was nauseating -- and you may soon have the chance to be a BART seat's virgin rider.

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