People keep dropping their AirPods onto subway tracks

Mashable Senior Tech Correspondent Ray Wong, pictured here, once lost an AirPod on an airplane.
Mashable Senior Tech Correspondent Ray Wong, pictured here, once lost an AirPod on an airplane.

Image: ZLATA IVLEVA / MASHABLe

By Jack Morse

The embodiment of the tech industry is firmly planted in one ear — and falling right out the other.

Depending on who you ask, Apple’s $159 wireless AirPods are either straight up amazing or the cheery manifestation of societal rot. One fact, however, is undeniable: People keep dropping these things onto subway tracks. 

So confirms BART, the transit system operating across the tech capital of the world that is the Bay Area. In fact, according to BART officials, the agency’s lost and found received 52 reports of lost AirPods so far this year. If the rate keeps up, the number could surpass last year’s total. In 2018, BART clocked 80 reports of lost AirPods. 

Importantly, BART communications department manager Alicia Trost told Mashable over email that these numbers represent only one piece of the lost AirPod puzzle. 

“What we don’t track and what we do know happens frequently,” wrote Trost, “is how often a Station Agent is told one has dropped and the agent contacts the Operations Control Center for work orders to go onto the track to retrieve it to the passenger.”

In other words, this happens quite a lot. BART even has a special “grabbing tool” used for picking AirPods (and, admittedly, other items) up off the tracks. 

The grabbing tool in question.

The grabbing tool in question.

Image: bart

A quick tour of the agency’s Twitter feed makes clear that BART officials have both become accustomed to riders dropping AirPods onto tracks and skilled at retrieving them. 

Chances are good. Let us refer your tweet to staff and see if a station agent can recover it. If recovered, then we will contact you so you can pick it up at the station.

— SFBART (@SFBART) April 23, 2019

Sorry to hear about your Airpod in the trackway. We’ll notify our team for retrieval. Please DM us your contact information.

— SFBART (@SFBART) April 19, 2018

I don’t have good news to report. The crew went and walk the entire track and no AirPod. They checked both tracks just in case. There are drains in the track, it must have fallen into one. I am so sorry.

— SFBART (@SFBART) April 10, 2018

My mother had one of her air pods fall into the tracks. Shouts out to the fine folks at San Bruno bart who were more than willing to assist. 🙏

— lil_jawn_and_the_eastside_boyz (@SundayWorst) May 9, 2019

But you don’t have to become another AirPod-less statistic. Trost offered up some advice on how to make sure you and your overpriced earbuds never part ways. 

“Keep them in your pocket when on escalators or the platform and while boarding the train,” she explained. “Besides falling into the trackway they can also easily fall in the gap between the platform and the train when boarding. Once on the train, just know if they fall out, you’ll be searching the floors of a likely crowded train car moving at speeds of up to 80 mph.”

Which is all great advice. But of course, you could just get wired earphones. 

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