With more than 400,000 riders per day, here’s how BART cleans its trains

Bay Area

MILLBRAE (KRON) — BART — love it or hate, it’s the train that gets more than 400,000 people around the Bay Area every day.

But that’s 800,000 shoes stepping onto trains, four million fingers touching the straps and a whole lot of other things bound to make you squirm.

“It’s always weird to tell yourself ‘I’m probably sitting where someone has put their feet,’” said one rider.

“I have seen needles laying in seats on BART, trash, you name it,” said another rider.

When it comes to keeping the trains garbage free, BART’s first line of defense is “spot cleaners”.

BART says when a rider complains, it takes action. Spills, hot lunches, feces, anything that’s left in the train that needs to be serviced right away is taken care of, the transit agency says.

If that isn’t gross already — those “hot lunches” are actually code for vomit.

“I ride BART a lot and I don’t think they’re cleaning it every day as they should,” one BART rider said.

According to BART every night it’s trains get a “general cleaning.”

That’s your basic sweep and seat wipe down. But when cars are due for a heavy duty cleaning, Rhonda Morrow and her team ride in.

“We’re gonna make sure we get everything from the top to the bottom,” Morrow said.

Every night at the Millbrae station at least one car gets a deep cleaning.

“We’re gonna disinfect the seats, the handrails, the poles,” Morrow said. “We pull off the back seats just to make sure.”

It is two hours of spraying, scrubbing, steaming and sanitizing.

“We have an organic cleaner, we also have a degreaser, it gets everything off.”

Despite the thoroughness, each BART car only gets this treatment once every 60 to 90 days.

“We do the best we can with the manpower we have,” she said.

“We try to keep the cars clean during the day but unfortunately there are going to be the few that are going to make the mess and when you see the mess,” she said. “That’s what everybody hears about.”

Kenneth Asidanya just started with BART.

He wants riders to know his team does the best they can.

“So the passengers can feel like they have a sense of cleanliness on the ride and feel comfortable,” Asidanya said.

If there’s one thing the cleaning crew and riders agree on, it’s that everyone can help keep it clean.

So if you wouldn’t do it at your grandma’s house, don’t do it on BART.

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