SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Bay Area Rapid Transit users have all experienced it; escalators that are down at their station. But what’s really behind the maintenance issues for the transit agency?

Officials said one of the main issues is the copious amounts of human excrement found in the escalator’s works, gumming up the wheels and gears. The bottom of BART’s stairwells often act as prime spots for the homeless to take shelter at night and in many cases, relieve themselves.

READ MORE: Large Fight At Park In Natomas Leaves 1 Man Dead

Last month, work crews opened up the broken BART escalator at San Francisco’s Civic Center Station and found so much human waste that they had to call in a hazardous-materials team.

READ MORE: Palo Alto Woman Alexandra Souverneva Accused Of Starting Fawn Fire In Shasta County

BART police said there is little they can do about the problem as officers have to witness someone in the act to issue a citation.

Officials have begun the process of meeting with San Francisco leaders about cleaning up the plaza at San Francisco’s 16th Street Station. Currently, five of the nine escalators that aren’t working are located in downtown San Francisco.

MORE NEWS: Reality Sets In For Fawn Fire Evacuees In Shasta County

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)