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Rail News: Passenger Rail

BART aims to test different rail-car prototypes, approves fare for Oakland airport people mover

Bay Area Rapid Transit's (BART) board yesterday voted to have the manufacturer of its new "Fleet of the Future" rail cars develop two different interiors with ceiling poles and bike rakes that would be tested during revenue service in late 2016.

In summer 2015, BART will receive 10 pilot cars to allow for testing before Bombardier Transit Corp. begins to assemble the full order of cars that will start arriving in 2017. The board's action means eight of the 10 test cars will include poles positioned at each door entry. Test cars also will include the proposed bike rack, BART officials said in a press release.

The two remaining test cars will have both the two-end door poles and bike rack removed. Empty space will be left in the original bike rack location.

During fourth-quarter 2016, the test cars will be put into revenue service so the public can experience the two options and provide feedback, BART officials said. The board will have to vote again on the final design, taking into consideration public input, they said.

"We want to keep the conversation open and to be guided by actual experiences," said Joel Keller, the board's president.

The first 100 trains incorporating the final design decision will arrive in 2017. With BART‘s goal to order 1,000 new cars, compared to today's 669, riders will have 38 percent more seats available.

Also yesterday, the board agreed to set the fare for the extension between the Coliseum Station and Oakland International Airport at $6.

The new service is set to begin in fall. The 3.2-mile automated guideway transit system will replace the AirBART shuttle buses with a driverless, automated people mover system that will reduce average travel and wait time, provide more frequent service, increase passenger capacity and provide a more seamless connection between the Coliseum Station and airport, BART officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/13/2014