If I learned anything from reading books as a child, it’s that everybody poops. Unfortunately for those commuters utilizing the BART in San Francisco, homeless people are treating the transit system’s escalators as late-night lavatories and severely gumming up the works. That’s creating quite a smelly problem for BART work crews.
The San Francisco Chronicle says when workers took apart a broken BART escalator last month, there was so much human waste inside it, they had to call hazardous-materials team. At night when the stations close down, BART station stairwells are known to be a hot spot for homeless people looking for a bit of quiet time.
Not unsurprisingly, it isn’t the best ingredient to add to the mechanisms involved in the escalators, causing long shutdowns and providing for a decidedly disgusting smell for commuters. It’s not an easy problem to fix, say BART authorities, as there aren’t a lot of open bathrooms that late at night providing other options for the homeless downtown.
BART policers will check stairwells in the morning and ask people to move along who may have slept there, and alert cleaning crews if there’s a mess. Sometimes it’s too late by then for the inner workings of the escalators.
The hardest part to address? In order for a citation to be issued, someone’s got to be there to see it and report it.
“Nobody wants to be walking in urine and feces, I know that, (but) if we don’t see it or the person doesn’t admit to it, they can just say it was someone else,” a BART spokesman said. “Certain crimes you don’t see, you can’t enforce.”
San Franciscans — if you smell something, say something.
Human waste shuts down BART escalators [San Francisco Chronicle]