Why we should not have our cell service blanked out...
If we're in a train in the tube, and it's on fire, or the Tube cracks and is taking on water faster than the pumps can discharge, then we, as riders on an aged system, have a RIGHT to speak our last words to at least one personal contact in our mobiles.
The antenna in the Tube and in the tunnel do not directly interfere with BART operations. The antennas that BART thoughfully/nicely/thankfull attached to each end (originally, in the trial, only designated cars, but then later it seems almost every operational car has them) help the signal get through better. Now, we are accustomed to it, and it seemingly poses no financial drain on BART.
If there is a heinous enough cretin or a dangerous mob posing harm underground, anyone walking up to a pay phone is going to stick out like a sore thumb, probably imminently facing assault if the perp/s can intercept the person. Someone with a mobile can slink away in the crowd and call for help. There are NUMEROUS activities going on in the stations and while BART agents DO monitor and announce on well-known fare evaders, trouble-makers (they announce some by their first names since they have "contact records" on those individuals), they cannot get them all.
Anyone blending in with the crowd can get away with a lot. Pickpockets and purse thieves are a LOT harder to spot, and they can ride the more crowed cars, rampaging with impunity if they KNOW the cell service will be cut. In a crowded car, anyone calling for help may be obscured in the middle and those who HEAR the pleas for help won't immediately know what to communicate via the car-end located intercoms. Plus, if mayhem is happening in MULTIPLE cars, how soon before the vehicle operator is overwhelmed?
No, BART has no more business and very little right to interfere with the wireless relay because it NOW is a DE FACTO SAFETY AND SECURITY BACK UP. For some, it is a primary. This isn't Pelham 1-2-3 (old or new) and isn't South Korea's "The Tube", but anyone witnessing crime or danger may not want or may not be able to go to an intercom. If it's crime, walking to an intercom is like saying "SHOOT/STAB/CLOBBER ME!", when the safer alternative is to text an alert to police, the media, BART Operations, and co-workers who MIGHT not know their now-absend/possibly dead/hospitalized comrade was in a hijacked or burning or flooding or flash-mobbed car. If it's danger not related to violence, then it may be hard to climb/crawl/claw over people in disarry who obstruct prudent access to the intercoms.
No, again, BART needs to keep its hands OFF the wireless relay. They need to update the ticketing system to do this:
-- we specify which start and end stations we want to encode our tickets.(in case our boarding is later, not now-- ) ****
**** Yes, there is a risk of surge if we have bad transfers from other agencies. But, with better inter-agency communications and even less fiefdom childishness between agencies, the buses, commuter vans, Google buses, and MUNI rail vehicles could semi-autonomously in mesh-fashion adapt in real-time the movements, delays, and other coordination so that people are MORE EFFICIENTLY transported. This isolation/fiefdom/territoriality/juvenile isolation of agencies has to be terminated like a mutilated horse about to be euthanized. It's time now to make the mass transit vehicles more connected so under-utilized by nearby buses on scheduled routes can be better used, or removed to save fuel. Riders would get feedback.
(And, NO, Nextbus, you don't have patent rights on this: I'm making this Open Source IN THIS WRITING. It hereby is released into PRIOR ART status. In fact, I've mentioned it to numerous people in and around transit for maybe 3 years now. So, ANY AGENCY IN THE WORLD IS FREE TO NICK THESE IDEAS. JUST don't be dicktards and try to offensively patent. Just DEFENSIVELY patent if you seek a patent.)
-- those pre-encoding riders get boarding priority on specially routed trains whether during normal
operations or demonstration riot events
-- prioritized trains and riders will shunt past randomly-selected stations while the waiting police then can escort for exit the end-station riders known by count and possibly name so there is LESS evacuation/discharge work effort to clear cars and stations.
-- those who don't encode take the chance of being on a train that may discharge them at an unwanted station, but at least things will be more manageable and fewer people would be PISSED off at being discharge too far ahead of or beyond their stop.
BART has a $HITLOAD of money and needs to upgrade its working but horridly antiquated system. Japanese and other mass transit visited BART and other US operations for or over the decades and now they by far have outstripped the ability of the US to emulate THEM. Granted, Japan and Korea and Singapore have less accessible, fast roadways, and granted, Big Oil didn't screw the public there since Nature already constrains POV movement options, but still. BART needs to get with the times, AUTOMATE more, get rid of cloth, create better anti-fare-evade entries, and work with MUNI to isolate BART protests from impinging on MUNI.
Do note that thousands of MUNI riders were affected by BART's operational, adiministrative, political, and police decision. Yesterday's "mob" from what I saw was miniscule. A few people with placards. But, several stations were shut down randomly to "foil" the mob organizers and relayers. Because of safety concerns and risk of people getting onto MUNI tracks and acting up due to lack of access to BART tracks and trains, MUNI had to shut down, too, in the affected stations.
Wait, a clarification is needed: BART owns the tunnels and the accesses. So, when BART closes, MUNI has to, too. Even if MUNI could afford or if the public demanded and funded separate accesses from street level at and BELOW BART stations (but, MUNI cars are ABOVE the BART tracks), BART can and probably would deny MUNI efforts to have separate accesses. Talk about fiefdom and territoriality. I get the safety aspect, but it was short-sighted to not provide Muni with separate accesses. I THOUGHT that MUNI and BART rights-of-way were separate.