BART upgrades air filters in the middle of a potential winter hike, workers eventually return – CBS San Francisco

SAN LEANDRO (KPIX 5) – In the midst of talk of a possible holiday increase in COVID-19 cases, BART is taking steps to make passengers feel safe.

The agency also believes there may be more equestrian growth around the corner, and they hope the COVID fear does not stand in the way of that.

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“You know, changing air every 70 seconds in a car is the industry’s best practice,” BART General Manager Bob Powers said at a briefing Tuesday.

To take it a step further, BART has now upgraded its air filters, a step beyond what is considered best practice.

“As you can see, the pleat design is much tighter,” engineer Charles Franz explained to KPIX 5, which holds both the old and the new filters. “This is the old MERV-8, which we have replaced. The 8’s only captures material as small as 3 microns. The new MERV-14, as small as 3 / 10ths of a micron.”

MERV-14 air filter will be installed on a BART train, 23 November 2021. (CBS)

MERV-14 air filter will be installed on a BART train, 23 November 2021. (CBS)

In addition to the quality of the air filter, there is another reason why passengers can feel comfortable on the trains now.

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“As long as you stay away from everyone and wear your mask on all the time,” Mary said, stepping off a BART train Tuesday.

“It’s not as crowded as it used to be,” Jiban Gurung said. “Like before COVID, it was very crowded.”

Weekday rider numbers are about 25% of the levels before COVID, a number that has been very close to the slow return to office space in the Bay Area, and specifically in San Francisco.

“So it will take a while to get back to pre-COVID numbers,” Powers said.

Inside a BART train during the COVID-19 pandemic, November 23, 2021. (CBS)

Inside a BART train during the COVID-19 pandemic, November 23, 2021. (CBS)

Although BART can not do much about it, it expects more office returns in the coming months. The agency said it is ready to lure motorists away from what we see on roads and highways.

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“So when people come back in three days or four days, whatever they are cadence is that they take public transportation and don’t get in their car,” Powers said. “You’ve seen traffic. Traffic is at levels before COVID right now, right? Gas prices are rising.”

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