The California Public Utilities Commission signed off on 10 new BART cars Tuesday, doubling the transit network’s fleet of newly delivered vehicles ready for rider action. However, it will be months before any significant number of the new cars pull into a station near you.
On Tuesday, the state’s Deputy Director of Rail Safety Roger Clugston gave the green light to the vehicles via a letter (reproduced here by the San Jose Mercury News) after a test ride by state officials, declaring, “The documentation and test run of the vehicle consist [sic] demonstrate the cars are acceptable and ready for revenue service.)
Testing meant running the relevant cars through the stations and making sure the doors open and close as planned. Note that door malfunctions last year delayed the release of the first 10 new cars. This time around there were no snafus.
In all, BART has 775 of the new vehicles on order for $2.6 billion and once upon a time hoped to have them operating by the end of 2016, but strings of delays pushed the big debut until January of this year.
Since then only 10 of the Canadian-built coaches have wandered the rails (often fewer, as some needed maintenance almost right away), popping up from time to time like a rare bird during commute hours.
BART’s present timeline aims for “complete acceptance” of 775 new cars by fall of 2022, with ambitions to obtain more than 500 additional vehicles shortly thereafter.