BART brings public restrooms back to subway stations after two decades of closure – CBS San Francisco

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SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – BART officials unveiled a new bathroom at the Powell Street station in San Francisco on Wednesday, the first of what will be several new bathrooms in underground BART stations.

Ten of the BART subway stations have not had public restrooms since 2001, after the September 11 terrorist attacks raised security concerns.

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However, in recent years, BART officials said the need for bathrooms at these stations has increased.

“It’s something that customers have demanded,” said BART general manager Bob Powers.

Reopening of public restrooms at the Powell Street BART station in San Francisco on Feb. 2, 2022. (CBS)

BART Board Chair Rebecca Saltzman said, “I can’t stress enough that today’s action is symbolic of a new era at BART.”

Some runners told KPIX 5 that they thought it would help alleviate a lot of issues.

“A lot of people don’t have a place to go,” said Lindsay Pfeiffer, who works with homeless people. “It’s a human solution to something that’s problematic.”

“They (people) probably won’t be pissing people over there anymore,” said Del Massone, a BART pilot.

Some passengers say they have seen people using the trains as toilets.

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“I saw someone go to the bathroom once there, yeah,” Bruce Badash said.

KPIX 5 asked Bevan Dufty of BART’s board if he thought adding a restroom would help solve this problem.

“Well, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you, we’re not just working on great toilets. We have added ambassadors. We have a dozen ambassadors who steer our system. We now have 14 crisis intervention specialists,” Dufty said. “I would be lying if I told you that I thought he was going to disappear tomorrow. That will take time. »

Dufty said bathrooms are just one part of the bigger picture, in terms of BART’s modernization.

“This isn’t the end of what we’re doing – it’s truly the start of a new era for BART,” Dufty said. “I really think if you rode 2-3 years ago and didn’t have a good experience, please give us a try now.”

Some riders reported noticing improvements in their transit experience, such as when taking the new trains.

“The new trains are awesome,” said Vicky Halliday. “But yes, the bathrooms – I think – will help.”

Restrooms will have attendants, rules posted at entrances and will be cleaned several times a day, according to BART executives.

The transit agency plans to open new restrooms at the 19th Street station in downtown Oakland at the end of February, and they will open more in a phased approach as funds become available. .

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“Toilets are essential for everyone. Opening them is one of the many steps we are taking to improve the BART pilot experience,” Saltzman said.

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