BART gets its scrub on: BART trains now deep-cleaned twice as often

Aug. 29, 2023
Cleaning BART's train fleet is a meticulous, but necessary process that Rose Burditt oversees on her nightshift as part of her work as a foreworker with BART.

Cleaning Bay Area Rapid Transit's (BART) train fleet is a meticulous, but necessary process that Rose Burditt oversees on her nightshift as part of her work as a foreworker with BART.

Burditt, who started as a car cleaner herself 28 years ago, is stationed at the Daly City Yard and inspects every single car that rolls into and out of her zone – up to 100 cars a shift. In just one night, she walks more than a mile in search of spots and stains that require some extra scrubbing from her team of skilled cleaners before she’s ready to release a car into passenger service. A thorough clean takes a team of two around two hours to complete, depending on the mess they face. Across the system each night, BART cleaners perform 15 to 20 thorough cleans – upwards of 30 hours of deep cleaning a night.

As foreworker, Burditt serves as the team's "second set of eyes" and ensures cleanings are up to the required standard. There are three set standards that Burditt and her team uses as reference when initiating a cleaning:

  1. A thorough clean: A controlled multi-step clean that requires cleaners scrub every surface of a train car, from ceiling to baseboards. Thorough cleans take two cleaners about two hours to complete. They occur every 450 hours a car is in service.
  2. A standard clean: If a car is not scheduled for a thorough clean on a given night, it will get a standard clean. Depending on time constraints, cleaners may sweep cars for debris, disinfect seats and poles, scrub graffiti, spray hanging straps with disinfectant and mop the floor.
  3. Basic litter pickup: Between thorough and standard cleans, cleaners hop aboard train cars at the end of the line and sweep up litter and messes. If a car has a major mess, it will be removed from service and cleaned before it is returned to service

BART recently increased the frequency of thorough cleans from every 900 hours of train car service to every 450 hours, doubling up the number of times the cars in their system undergoes a deep clean. Their train cars are now twice as clean

Cleaning BART vehicles require trained, dexterous and highly skilled cleaners with close attention to detail. BART has been able to increase its cleaning hours recently thanks to emergency federal funding and the knowledge it'll be receiving additional funds from the new state budget. The funding enables BART to hire additional cleaners.

About the Author

Eman Abu-Khaled | Associate Editor

Eman Abu-Khaled is a recent graduate of Kent State University with a bachelors in journalism. She works through Endeavor Business Media with Mass Transit as an associate editor. Abu-Khaled brings a fresh perspective to the visual side of journalism with an interest in video and photography work.