Used parts installed in BART extension to Milpitas causes setback

The first phase of BART’S expansion into Milpitas has hit a snag. Officials announced a subcontractor has been installing used parts into electronics that control some station functions instead of new parts, as required by the billion dollar contract.

Officials say they noticed a problem during testing in June. Small computer components that have been installed in a ten mile stretch of construction south of the Warm Springs Station. The electronics cost $1.2 million and are part of the communications equipment that control lighting, the public intercom system, and fire alarms inside the various stations. BART Berryessa Extension spokeswoman Bernice Alaniz says they discovered a subcontractor installed used parts, instead of new ones.

“It is not that there could be problems, it’s just that the parts were not per specification,” said Alaniz.

She says officials didn’t discover the problem until June, after the oversight board had gone on Summer break. The subcontractor is now replacing all of the used components with new devices.

“We are taking measures to take that equipment out, those parts, and replace it and then we’ll retest,” said Alaniz.

In an emailed statement, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who chairs VTA’s board which is overseeing this phase, says in part, “Our top priority is ensuring that we have a safe and secure system, which is why we’re working to replace the improper equipment as soon as possible.” Some passengers told KTVU they agree safety should be the top consideration.

“I think passengers can take a bit of inconvenience rather than end up outside (on) the tracks. With carriages rolling down some ravine,” said BART passenger Sam En.

Officials say switching out the component parts will cause a three month delay, and have the next phase finished by Fall of 2019 at the earliest. Officials say this misstep does not hurt their confidence in the people who’ve been hired to do the work.