What would you do with a decommissioned BART train car?

Here in San Francisco Bay Area, our main public transit train system is called BART (short for Bay Area Rapid Transit). Well, just saw that BART is looking for new homes for some train cars they're retiring. The cars are free but there's a pricey catch. The new (and thoroughly vetted — see below) owners must pay for transportation costs to get them off the lot which could amount to $8 to $10K, according to BART. On the Facebook announcement, people have suggested all kinds of uses for these cars including homeless shelters, play structures, and fish habitats.

BART is now accepting pre-qualification applications for proposals to re-use BART's legacy cars. While the majority of BART's retired train cars will be recycled and used for parts, museums, nonprofits, agencies and the general public are now invited to submit their ideas for giving an undetermined number of the old cars a new life. Application is linked here: https://bart.submittable.com/submit The deadline for Pre-Qualification Applications is March 12, 2021 at 5pm PST. More information is provided at https://www.bart.gov/about/projects/legacy

…There are a number of key criteria for anyone considering obtaining a legacy car – the project must not cost BART any money once the car has been prepared for delivery. Successful proposers must pay the costs of getting the train car from BART's property to their own site including transportation fees (rental of flatbed truck and mileage), crane rental to offload the car, labor and other expenses. That's estimated to cost $8,000- $10,000 per car.

While that is one critical criterium, it's not the only one. A project selection committee will review applications and make selections based on proposals meeting all the required criteria, including a plan for their final disposition after the project use is done and the community benefits.The notifications of successful pre-qualifications are scheduled to be sent in June. The notification of "Award of Proposals" is scheduled for December, with the first cars being turned over to awardees expected sometime in 2022.

BART is retiring all legacy fleet cars, some of which have been carrying passengers for almost 50 years, as it replaces them with 775 new Fleet of the Future cars.

photo by Rusty Blazenhoff