The number of police incidents impacting San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) service is declining. Also, rail planning and operations software has been selected for Metrolinx’s GO Rail Expansion–On-Corridor Works program; and Southern California’s Metrolink schedules a temporary service outage to complete a three-year modernization project.
From May through October, the number of trains negatively impacted by BART Police Department incidents fell by more than 60%, the transit agency reported Nov. 7. The dramatic drop comes as BPD has boosted train patrols, the BART schedule was changed to emphasize shorter trains to boost safety, and other initiatives outlined in the Safe and Clean Plan have been implemented, according to BART.
Here are the latest numbers:
- The number of BPD incidents causing delays fell from 374 in May to 295 in October.
- The number of trains impacted by BPD incidents decreased from 1,144 in May to 694 in October.
- Total train minutes lost due to BPD incidents dropped from 9,878 in May to 6,380 in October.
According to the transit agency, BPD doubled the number of officers on trains in March as part of BART’s Safe and Clean Plan. BART PD is using both traditional sworn officers, as well as unarmed Crisis Intervention Specialists and Transit Ambassadors to boost its visible safety presence in the system. When BART’s reimagined schedule was launched in September, the least-crowded trains were shortened, eliminating near-empty railcars.
“These numbers paint a picture of how our commitment to rider safety is paying off,” BART General Manager Bob Powers said. “Fewer delays due to BPD incidents not only shows safety is improving but it helps our on-time performance. This is a win-win for riders as we deliver on our commitment to ensure BART is the safest way to travel around the Bay.”
“The sharp decline in the number of trains being delayed due to BPD incidents is an important indicator that our new safety initiatives are making a difference,“ BART Police Chief Kevin Franklin said. “We are aggressively moving forward with our officer recruitment campaign and hope to boost our visible presence even more as we work hard to hire more cops.”
Safety will get another boost in December, BART said, when the first new fare gate prototypes are installed at the West Oakland Station. Taller and stronger than the ones that have been in place for decades, the new gates “will deter fare evasion while also improving overall access by relying on high-tech sensors to provide safe access for riders in wheelchairs as well as those who are using strollers or luggage,” BART reported.
IVU Traffic Technologies AG on Nov. 8 reported that its IVU.rail software and specialized implementation process IVU.xpress have been selected by ONxpress Transportation Partners (ONxpress) to help schedule, dispatch and optimize trains. ONxpress in 2022 signed a project agreement for the On-Corridor Works Project of the GO Rail Expansion program, following a procurement process led by Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario.
ONxpress is a consortium comprising Alstom, Aecon Group Inc., Deutsche Bahn International Operations GmbH and FCC Construcción S.A. Aecon holds a 50% interest in a joint venture with FCC, which is undertaking the construction, and a 28% interest in a 25-year O&M (operations and maintenance) partnership with Deutsche Bahn International Operations. Hatch is also a consortium member.
“The multibillion-dollar On-Corridor Works Project will transform collective mobility in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), making it faster, more reliable and more sustainable,” the consortium said last year. “GO Expansion will transform the GO rail network from a commuter service into an all-day rapid system, converting the network from a diesel-powered commuter railway to a primarily electric regional express system, and will include system-wide upgrades to deliver all-day service every 15 minutes on the core rail network. The On-Corridor Works Project, Ontario’s largest capital infrastructure project, is an innovative, fully integrated contract that will not only deliver fast, more frequent and improved rail services within the GTHA, but also cleaner and more environmentally friendly service.”
According to ONxpress Chief Information Officer Jürgen Bodtländer, the consortium “made the decision to go with IVU.rail following a thorough review of market options. The integrated nature of the software, its many value-adding features and IVU’s excellent rail references worldwide were important factors in our decision to partner with IVU.”
“We are proud to have been granted the opportunity to help ONxpress sustainably improve regional transport in one of the most densely populated areas of North America,” said Oliver Grzegorski, Managing Director Rail at IVU Traffic Technologies. “Our cooperation has gotten off to an excellent start. We expect a short project timeline thanks to the dedicated ONxpress and IVU teams working together on implementing our standard software, which is already able to handle North American rail requirements.”
Metrolink on Nov. 7 reported that it will suspend service on its commuter rail lines from Dec. 26 to Dec. 29 to implement the SCORE L.A. Union Station (LAUS) Modernization Project, a three-year project to update all track and signal systems where trains enter and exit at LAUS. Normal operations will resume Dec. 30.
The required modernization work will restrict access in and out of LA Union Station, the terminus for six of Metrolink’s seven service lines, as well as the agency’s Central Maintenance Facility, where passenger cars are cleaned and locomotives are serviced daily. The cascading impact of these disruptions will render Metrolink’s full-system service inoperable during the four-day work window. According to the agency, crews will also leverage the service break to “expedite additional state-of-good repair and maintenance projects at LA Union Station and on other parts of the system that would typically be spread over longer periods with additional service disruptions.” Metrolink operations staff and contractors will use the time to conduct accelerated training.
“When we temporarily pause our service in late December, we will be taking a huge leap forward operationally with upgraded technology and infrastructure that will help us deliver better, more efficient service for current and future riders,” Metrolink CEO Darren Kettle said. “To minimize the disruption to our customers, we scheduled this work on dates of historically low ridership and are working hand-in-hand with our transit partners to identify alternate transportation options for those who will be impacted.”