New BART cars go into service Friday

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The California Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday authorized BART to put 10 new train cars from its Fleet of the Future project into service. Passengers may be able to ride them as soon as Friday afternoon.

These will be the first of the 775 cars to debut publicly, manufactured by Canadian maker Bombardier. 

2 Investigates has been covering problems with the $2.5-billion dollar deal between BART and Bombardier for more than a year, uncovering years of delivery delays and problems. Even though the Bay Area will get 10 cars, by this time, riders were supposed to have hundreds.

“It’s taken a really long time,” said BART rider Austin Soldner. “It’s good to see that’s changing, but it needs to change more rapidly.”

BART officials said they have one of the oldest big-city fleets of public transit trains in the nation, and will begin to replace their old trains with quieter and more comfortable new ones.

In November, the recent batch of new cars first failed the test by state regulators. The system failed to recognize all the cars and the operator lost control of the doors. After that, BART officials hoped to put the new trains into service by mid-December, but it took roughly another month to reach the start date.

BART officials said they've made roughly 2,900 modifications to the trains, completed nearly 400 tests and put their train operators and technicians through roughly 20,000 hours of training so far.

BART said they will hold a news conference Friday. In order for the agency to roll out any additional trains, they will have to pass more test-runs, according to the CPUC.