None of the proposals sought to use the legacy cars for affordable housing projects or homes for the unhoused -- two of the major problems facing the San Francisco Bay Area. Other public transit agencies have sunk their legacy cars into the ocean to serve as artificial reefs, but this is unfeasible for BART's cars due to their aluminum composition. Likewise, BART cannot sell the cars to other transit agencies because its vehicles operate on a nonstandard gauge or track width.
Repurposing old BART cars is no easy feat -- nor is moving and installing them. BART estimates the cost of transporting, installing, and permitting the vehicles will cost somewhere in the range of $8,000 to $15,000. Applicants were asked to provide plans for the vehicles' retrieval, as well as a description of how they intend to dispose of the cars when they've served their purpose. It's all about creative upcycling and a dash of creative thinking.
The remaining decommissioned legacy cars -- there are 531 still in-service, as of Jan. 30 -- will be mostly recycled, a few cars at a time, by Schnitzer Steel in Oakland.
The eight recipients were selected after submitting a proposal to BART describing what they planned to do with the vehicle. The selected few will transform the old cars into beer gardens and short-term rentals, museum objects and more.