Monday, July 31, 2006

Mid-Day BART riders

Since I take BART to work, I get in around 9 and leave around 5:30 or so. In the few occasions that I leave during the day, I usually take my car. That said, my recent encounter during a mid-day BART ride was a bit scary, but not surprising, based on what I've heard and read from everyone.

I had to leave work early to take care of family matters. When I arrived at the Civic Center Station (street level), I noticed immediately that the staircase and surrounding area was occupied by at least 40-50 homeless folks. They were up and about, chatting, laughing, throwing things at each other, or screaming profanities at pedestrians or in some cases, no body. It was a little frightening to walk between them, while cautiously trying to not disrupt their game of catch with an empty bottle and another game of soccer with an empty beer can. On the other hand, I now know what homesless people do in the day time! They have fun and socialize.

When I got down to boarding platform, I noticed more homeless people sleeping and saw a few drunks passed out on the floor. I guess it is cooler inside the station than napping outside under the scorching sun. Who can blame them? I just wonder how they got in?

Once the train arrived, they woke up and joined me in the short 4 car train. My car was fairly empty: me, a few culinary school students in uniform, and them. The drunk men walked in and both found their own 4-seater area to sleep on. One of them kicked some old newspaper out of his way, missed, and almost fell down. He then screamed out an assorment of cuss words while kicking the seat in anger. The other drunk man was already back asleep by this time. He was about 2 rows from me, and I could smell the alcohol.

A few homeless folks also were on the train with me. One immediately walked up and down the trains to ask for money. I didn't feel like reaching for my wallet, but he stood in front of me and kept on asking! To get away from his smell, I ended up giving him all my change. The other homeless folks just slept. One stuck his bare feet out in the aisle.....I sure wish I had a pair of socks to give him, for my sake and his.

It was just interesting to me how different the riders are during the day time! How do they get in? Are they going anywhere? Seems like they just hopped on to sleep or ask for money.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, What a scary ride!
I ride from Walnut Creek to Embarcadaro and back daily, and occasionally need to do a mid-day ride, but I've never seen anything like what you describe. Perhaps the homeless problem is getting worse? Where was BART police during all this!?

dndgirl said...

I, too, occasionally rid the train from Castro Valley to Embarcadero or back during mid-day and I've never seen these folks either. You must just be lucky--not! I would have gone to another car and called the driver.

rafael said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the homeless ride it all the way to the end and then ride it all the way back. I've assumed that they do this on very cold or rainy days. There are a lot more of them on the trains on those days. Well, if you think about it, it's warm, comfortable (somewhat), and no one bothers you.

Anonymous said...

The number of homeless directly corresponds to the lack of complaints to BART.

Sometimes I wonder if when they get wet and stink more, more people complain. I see more police sweeping off the homeless in the rainy season.

oh, and the original poster should post their story to the comments page on bart.gov

http://www.bart.gov/guide/overview/contactBART.asp

jm

bartmusings said...

Thanks for that URL. I will do so for this and any other legitimate complaints.

Anonymous said...

i wonder about the bart comments page since i submitted a comment/complaint and question there about 2 weeks ago and have not received a response. there doesn't seem to be any sort of accountability associated with using that link so, based on the lack of response, bart may just ignore what they would prefer not to deal with. bart gets plenty of public money so ought to be more responsible and responsive.

Anonymous said...

I was furious when I recently made a report to BART police about a pervert masturbating on the train I was riding. On my first call, they took all my information, then shuffled the report to an officer coming on duty on another shift. He left me a message at 9:30pm saying he was ready to take my report. Next day, just about the same thing....till I finally was able to talk to him. I was told the video cameras only hold 72 hours of recording (I reported my incident 50 hrs after it happened - yet they couldn't be bothered to pull the tape!). THERE NEEDS TO BE A PUBLIC NOTICE on every camera EXPLAINING HOW LONG YOU HAVE TO REPORT A VIDEOTAPED EVENT!

Anonymous said...

Real estate prices for BART buildings must be low because of the homeless. For example, today's Chronicle reported that BART sold a 73000 square foot office building in Millbrae, used during the SFO rail line build, for only $8 million. That's only $100 a square foot. That's a criminal giveaway of a public asset. If that were turned into 30 or 40 low/mod income units, the building would be worth $40+ million. Market rate condos might raise it to $70 million. This is a scandal for an agency always crying poverty.