BART is gearing up to replace all 669 train cars in it’s fleet, hopefully by 2023. But they won’t come cheap. Why?
An evil plan by Bechtel Corp.
The cost of the cars themselves has also provoked a strong reaction; the Chronicle has put the possible total per car expense, which includes the price of things like safety certification and factory visits, at just north of $5 million. Even if that number were to drop significantly, which would happen if the price of materials were to decrease, it’s still markedly higher than the per vehicle price tag of other train systems. New York City subway cars, for example, top out around $1.3 million each.
One of the main reasons for the increased expense is that when Bechtel designed BART in the 1960s, it made the tracks a non-standard width. The vast majority of train systems use track that’s 4 feet 8.5 inches wide, whereas the width of BART tracks is five feet.
“That was the biggest mistake,” Allan Miller, Executive Director of the Train Rider’s Association of California, told UrbanHabitat.org. “I mean, it wasn’t even a mistake. It was done purposefully, just to raise everyone’s profits. Every time you order anything for BART, you have to not only get different parts, you have to actually build the machines to build those parts. Every machine that builds the parts has to be made from scratch. That’s an incredible expense, and they’ve plagued us forever. There is no way out of it.”