The BART board apparently decided that a “train” that will require switching of cables halfway through the line, is an excellent use of nearly half a billion dollars.
I would describe my indignant response, but TransForm, a transit advocacy has done it pretty well for me in a press release today:
In a historic vote today, the BART Board voted to approved a huge boondoggle called the Oakland Airport Connector that will likely be the most expensive project per new passenger built in the Bay Area.
Oddly, BART is announcing the creation of a “swift” project. The Connector will travel at an average speed of just over 23 mph. Which is swift for some cyclists, some dogs and the rare Olympic sprinter, but not for a “automated fixed guideway” system, actually a slow cable car.
The project will:
* Cost $492 million dollars just to add 600 riders (if you believe their outdated ridership projections). General Manager Dugger confirmed that BART is assuming 4,350 riders in 2020, not the 10K that BART has presented recently. That is just 600 more than they would have had with AirBART service. Wow, 600 riders for nearly half a billion dollars.
* Have vehicles stop for 10-20 seconds in the middle of the journey while vehicles switch ropes and restart (not even the cable cars in SF stop to switch cables! Think of the last time you were on a rail vehicle that stopped halfway through the trip for no apparent reason!) I guess that’s what happens when you take the lowest bidder and they are a ski lift operator.
It was confirmed at the meeting that this very short connector has a projected fare of $6 each way on top of your BART ticket, despite BART’s insistence that this was not necessarily the case. Transit advocates throughout the region are enjoying BART’s “swift” decision. (TransForm)
This is a ridiculous waste of money. That money could be spent in any number of more intelligent ways: improving service, expanding service outwards, whatever, you name it. But $492 million for a few miles that is already well served by AirBART?
It’s a joke.