bart_generic.jpgRetired Oakland fire battalion chief and Vietnam War veteran John McPartland of Castro Valley was elected by his fellow directors today to be the new president of the BART Board of Directors.

McPartland, who was elected to the board in 2008 and is entering the final year of his term, said that among his goals are reinvesting in the transit agency’s core system and its fleet of new train cars.

“We need to address the signs of aging in our system and our fleet,” McPartland said.

McPartland said he also wants to focus on BART extensions, including an extension to the Warm Springs district in the southern part of Fremont, a project that’s beginning to take shape, and an extension to Livermore, a project that is developing more slowly.

In addition, McPartland said, “As a retired combat veteran, I want to ensure that BART continues to contribute in any way possible to support our returning service members as they transition back to civilian life.”

McPartland, who represents District 5, which includes all or part of Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, Castro Valley, Hayward, Sunol, Danville and San Ramon, retired from the Oakland Fire Department after 25 years as a chief officer.

Before being elected to the BART board, he was a BART safety specialist for six years.
McPartland is the second former BART employee to become the board’s president. He succeeds Bob Franklin, who was the first former employee to achieve that distinction when he was elected president last December.

Franklin worked in BART’s finance and planning departments for six years.

McPartland was elected by an 8-1 margin, with Joel Keller, who represents part of Contra Costa County, casting the lone “no” vote.

Tom Radulovich of San Francisco, who represents District 9 and was first elected to the board in November 1996, was unanimously elected to be the board’s new vice president.

Radulovich is currently vice chair of BART’s Planning, Public Affairs, Access and Legislation Committee and serves as vice chair of the Regional Rail Committee and alternate for the Americans With Disabilities Act Liaison Committee.

He also is a member of the Joint Development Liaison and San Francisco Transportation Authority Liaison Committees.

After taking the gavel as president, McPartland thanked Franklin for “setting a high water mark in transparency and responsiveness to the public and press.”

Franklin said among BART’s achievements in the past year are increasing its ridership from 340,000 to 375,000 a day on weekdays, having a 95 percent on-time performance record and having a $22 million budget surplus.

Franklin said other landmarks are adopting a new policy on using cellphones in BART stations, opening the transit’s 44th station, the West Dublin/Pleasanton station, and replacing old fabric seat covers with new vinyl seat covers in 100 cars.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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