I'm a little late reading all of your thoughtful comments due to the fact that Bay Area Rapid Transit MELTED DOWN
this evening! Yes indeed, at 5:27 PM a supposed computer glitch halted every single train in the BART system for over 90 minutes. At one point the situation looked so dire that BART operators started manually moving trains into the closest stations to offload passengers who where then told to seek alternate means of transportation.
But your author, having long ago eschewed fishy gills in favor of amphibian lungs, decided to cool his heels over in Oakland for a few hours rather than attempt to swim back to San Francisco. However, I'd venture that this was no glitch. A system as critical as BART must have "hot" backups for all of their computers, and if they don't their administrators should be fired.
Nope, methinks something else was going on.
(Obligatory California, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose keywords to try and get leftyblogs filter to trip and include this post. sigh...)
Fucked by BART again. Next time you see a BART upper crusty bureaucrat (very higly paid, btw), ask him or her what's going on with the "translink" system? They will scratch their heads in deep mystery - huh? link our wonderful transit system with all the others in the Bay, fuck no!
I am so glad I don't commute by anything but Muni - at least if Muni breaks down, I don't have long to walk to get where I am going.
You know, I've got very mixed feelings about this. Most of the time BART runs like clockwork. In fact, I've never encountered a transit system that is more consistently on-time. But...when BART screws up, they do it BIG!
If you believe the official line, they were trying to correct a programming/network issue during peak commuting hours. First, that's just fracking nuts! Second, where were the "hot-backups"? For a system that is as dependant on computer control as BART. Not having control systems on hot standby is an almost unforgivable sin.
I think that the BART administrators are covering for some other situation.
Sounds fishy, Frog. Not that I know about your area, but seems strange not to have multiple back up systems... more to it, I bet. But what else is new in our opaque government? They don't owe anyone an explanation and neither do bureasucrats...too bad for you.
OUCH! As a refugee from the Bay Area (Sonoma County), I can sure sympathize. I didn't live in BART territory, but traffic in the Bay Area is so Godawful, all it takes is one stalled car to throw everything into gridlock. I can't imagine the nightmare caused by a BART meltdown.
Tom, actually it happened twice. Once on Tuesday (which I missed, thankfully) and then on Wednesday night. 90 minutes starting at 5:30...unbelievable!
The official line is that they were trying to install some software patch that would keep their system up even in the presence of a systemic problem. Apparently this patch overloaded their control system's network. So the question is: What the hell were they doing testing something like this during rush hour.