BART’s million-dollar pigeon poop plan


BART — unlike just about anything else having to do with government these days — is running a surplus. The transit agency rode a wave of increased ridership and local sales tax revenue en route to a $10.8 million bulge in their pocketbook last fiscal year.

A nice chunk of BART’s surplus — a cool $1 million — is being directed toward their ongoing battle with pigeons and pigeon poop in their stations.

BART will bolster its pigeon defenses by festooning an assortment of metal sheets, rods and spikes to its stations to prevent pigeons from landing and hanging out. The angled and otherwise uncomfortable metalwork is designed to take away flat areas for the birds to land.

Pigeons and their droppings have vexed BART for years, with the agency trying different approaches to shooing off the pesky birds.

Netting designed to keep pigeons away failed, and merely drooped in submission.

Tape-recorded sounds of predatory hawks failed after pigeons — not as dumb as they look, apparently — figured out the sounds were fake.

BART spokesman Jim Allison told the CoCo Times the new strategy — though expensive initially — should pay off in years to come:

“We’re talking about installing a new infrastructure. It’s designed to save money in the long term, though, by saving on maintenance.”

In addition to the new pigeon plan, BART directors approved using portions of the fiscal year surplus on late-night bus service from San Francisco to the East Bay, as well as other system and train maintenance projects.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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