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Op-Ed: BART Should Embrace Driverless Trains

Daniel Borenstein points out the irony that while the Bay Area may be the world's top tech hub, BART has no real plans to consider driverless trains.
November 6, 2017, 10am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Franco Folini

Daniel Borenstein criticizes Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), writing that "BART directors have given lip service to the notion of driverless trains, but when it comes to spending billions of dollars on upgrades, they're sticking with the status quo — no matter the long-term cost."

He points to the many Bay Area companies working on self-driving car concepts, and to driverless train models already implemented elsewhere. "This is not just about getting on board with the latest new, new thing. Driverless trains merit serious consideration for much-needed labor cost savings [...]."

According to Borenstein, labor is the force fending off autonomous trains. "But most BART board members are unwilling to risk the wrath of labor unions and the campaign muscle they control. They're unwilling to even discuss the issue. [...] As for BART staff members, they insist that train operators are needed for safety. Never mind that train systems elsewhere in the world are successfully and safely operating without them."

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Published on Friday, October 20, 2017 in The Mercury News
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