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Correction: New BART cars not delayed (except that they already were)

It’s complicated

On Tuesday, Curbed SF reported "BART’s new cars delayed until 2017." The San Francisco Business Times said, "Even BART’s new railcars delayed," and the San Francisco Chronicle reports "New cars delayed." And others followed suit.

Judging from the headlines, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that BART’s widely advertised Fleet of the Future has been delayed until further into the future. But BART told us later on Tuesday that there are no delays. Except for those that have already happened, that is.

It’s complicated.

It’s true, BART’s first big batch of new cars was set back five to six months, now rolling out in May of 2017 instead of the end of this year. But that shouldn't exactly be breaking news; it came up at a BART board meeting back in March.

Oddly enough, it seems like the delivery delay never made it into a headline at the time. (Although it did get passing mention in stories about manufacturer Bombardier’s other troubles.)

Recently, NBC and the East Bay Times (part of the Bay Area News Group) reported on power supply problems on the new cars. But BART spokespersons Alicia Trost and Taylor Huckaby, as well as East Bay Times reporter Erin Baldassari, tell Curbed SF that these newly reported mechanical issues aren’t the source of the hold up in delivering the first of the new fleet.

Compounding the potential for confusion, BART riders will still probably get the chance to ride the incoming vehicles come December. Although the mass order has been delayed, BART presently has a series of test cars. If the testing reveals no catastrophic problems, those will combined into a single new train and go into circulation.

So, to review: A few new cars will (probably) start rolling by the end of the year, technically satisfying the original target date. The (delayed) first launch of a meaningful number of new vehicles is set for May, as it has been for over four months now. New problems with the power supply have turned up, but BART swears there won’t be any additional delays from it.

Now hurry up, your Pittsburg/Bay Point is leaving.