BART cutting down on disruptions 

BART passengers have dealt with fewer service disruptions than normal this year, although the average time of the system delays have been lengthier than years past.

Through April, BART recorded 1,401 service disruptions on its system, a total that is on pace to be a 13 percent decrease from 2009 and a 25 percent drop from 2008, according to department statistics.

Those disruptions are broken down into five categories, with miscellaneous causes accounting for nearly half — 651 — of the total delays. Operations-related causes, which accounted for 267 incidents through April, and vehicle-related causes, at 250 incidents, were the second- and third-leading type of delay. BART, which covers 104 miles of trackway, recorded an average of 11.5 service disruptions a day for the first four months of this year.

If BART maintains its current pace (the April statistics were the most recent available), the agency would have 4,203 disruptions in 2010 — 550 less than last year and 1,408 fewer than the 5,611 delays recorded in 2008.

Paul Oversier, BART assistant general manager of operations, attributed the drop in disruptions to more preventative maintenance operations on system vehicles, and greater investment in trackside operations, such as the recent procurement of extra brackets to prevent rail coverboards from being knocked down.

Oversier said the miscellaneous category of delays, which include everything from finding unattended backpacks on trains to PG&E blackouts, are harder to prevent, although the agency is reviewing its protocol to deal with those disruptions.

While the number of delays is going down, when disruptions have occurred this year, they’ve been longer. The average length of a disruption in 2010 has been 8 minutes, 18 seconds — 24 seconds more than the average in 2009 and 18 seconds more than 2008. Construction-related delays took the biggest leap in the past year, with the length of those disruptions extending from an average of 7:18 in 2009 to 8:54 this year.

Oversier said increased construction work on operational facilities, such as the creation of a new station in Dublin, has contributed to the longer-than-normal delays.

The lengthier disruptions have not had a significant impact on BART’s on-time performance standards. For the third quarter of this fiscal year, which covers January through March, BART vehicles recorded a on-time performance rate of 95.41 percent, just off the agency’s stated goal of 96 percent.

Number of delays by type

2008
Vehicle: 1,052
Wayside: 882    
Operations: 891
Construction: 10
Miscellaneous: 2,776
Total: 5,611

2009    
Vehicle: 877
Wayside: 780
Operations: 733
Construction: 4
Miscellaneous: 2,359
Total: 4,753

2010*
Vehicle: 250
Wayside: 228
Operations: 267
Construction: 5
Miscellaneous: 651
Total: 1,401

Average delay in minutes by event
    
2008
Vehicle: 8.7
Wayside: 8.4
Operations: 7.2
Construction: 8.1
Miscellaneous: 7.4

2009
Vehicle: 8.8
Wayside: 8.8
Operations: 7.2
Construction: 7.3
Miscellaneous: 7.4

2010*
Vehicle: 9.2
Wayside: 8.8
Operations: 7.0
Construction: 8.9
Miscellaneous: 7.7

* Through April

Source: BART

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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