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BART posts elevator attendants to combat ‘surprises’

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Pilot program staffs Civic Center Station and Powell Street Station lifts

Hacker Group Disrupts Bay Area Mass Transit System Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

BART and Muni announced Monday that they’re giving the shaft to some San Francisco volunteers, but the results may spell relief for some riders.

For the next six months, both agencies will post attendants in the elevators at Powell Street and Civic Center Stations as part of a pilot program.

Streetsblog quotes BART Board of Directors member Devan Dufty that the personnel are there to cut down on “puddles and surprises in the elevators.”

A press release frames the deal in barely more delicate terms:

The pilot is meant to address elevator cleanliness, safety, security, availability and accessibility issues.

The nationwide homelessness crisis and related quality of life issues have presented the transit agencies with a unique set of challenges. In this case, it is how to ensure our elevators are usable while also pointing people who need a restroom in the right direction.

BART and SFMTA are bringing in members of the community organization Hunters Point Family to serve as attendants. They will monitor the two station elevators each day from station opening to closing.

Hunters Point Family is an SF-based activist non-profit founded in 1997, aimed at providing career training and support for Bayview and Hunters Point kids.

In all, 35 people will staff the two stations’ elevators 21 hours a day starting at 4 a.m. The program will cost $3.2 million, split between the two transit agencies.

Note that BART in particular has such a bad rap over the condition of its elevators that disability rights groups sued the agency in 2017.

Although that suit mostly concerned how often mechanical problems make it difficult for people with disabilities to access the station, the complaint also made a point of mentioning “soiled elevators” among the problems.