Tunnel Vision: An Unauthorized BART Ride

Tunnel Vision

After 6 months of on-and-off-again labor, I released a feature-length film composed mostly of footage obtained by attaching a camera to the front of a BART train.

You can watch the movie in its entirety for free on YouTube, as well as the impromptu panel Q&A I hosted at the Roxie premiere. The Roxie is an important San Francisco nonprofit theater and I want to thank them again for showing my film.

Live Zoom Backgrounds

If you’ve ever been stuck in a Zoom meeting and wished you were on BART instead, I have a few fun looping Zoom backgrounds you can use:

Look at all the fun you can have!

BART Zoom Still

BARTalk Archives

A few months later, I completed scanning old issues of BART’s internal employee newsletter, BARTalk, from 1981 to 2003.

In addition to fun Christmas covers, BARTalk features workaday profiles of life at BART as a station agent, operator, or maintenance person, as well as recaps of anything fun that might be happening at BART. It’s written in a relaxed way you don’t see in their public-facing comms

BARTalk Christmas Cover

My favorite running feature of BARTalk is the internal efficiency award program, which awards clever employees with money commensurate with how much money their idea saves BART. Here is the largest award winner (for a cheap way to reduce the resistance of the third rail).

BARTalk Efficiency

The newsletter is also where the district celebrates its own achievements, like its service in the wake of Loma Prieta closing the bay bridge, or winning the International Roadeo (a competition for transit workers).

BARTalk Loma Prieta Cover BARTalk Roadeo Cover

A newsletter like this is also an interesting look at pre-electronic communication at a company that spans a wide geography and thousands of employees. They didn’t have email yet, so some of it is devoted to prosaic stuff like “for sale” listings and social club advertisements.

BARTalk For Sale Listings

I’d like to thank Dany Qumsiyeh, inventor of the linear book scanner, for helping me with the Noisebridge book scanner. I’d also like to thank Michael Healy, from whose collection these newsletters were borrowed.