Monday, March 31, 2008

No one fears fines and community service for eating/drinking on BART

Chronicle's Rachel Gordon wrote an article today titled, "More food options at BART stations, but high fines await snackers inside the gates".

BART Police Chief Gary Gee discusses that consuming food or beverage within any "paid areas" will lead to penalties of up to a $250 fine and 48 hours of community service. He says, "BART police officers will ticket riders who eat or drink in the paid area, which we define as the places where you need a ticket, such as inside the fare gates of a station, on platforms or on any train," BART Police Chief Gary Gee said today. Those who defy the ban could be cited for an infraction and face penalties of up to a $250 fine and 48 hours of community service.

No one cares about these fines because everyday I see people eating or drinking something! No one will take these warnings seriously until they've received a ticket or have seen someone getting one...and that just won't happen unless BART is more serious about enforcing this rule.

I've raised this before but only to attract criticisms from people who feel that enforcing food/beverage rule is insignificant compared to crimes! Duh.....of course it is insignificant! And I do not want to take time away from those BART cops that are working hard at ensuring security and safety in the parking lots, stations, platforms, and train!! Of course not!

But here's the thing....are they all busy at all times? Why are there 4 or 5 BART police officers chatting with each other in front of the Civic Center Station florist on ticketing level? Or 10 officers after a Warriors or A's game (I understand the need in that area) but a lot of the "unsafe situations" actually happen inside the trains after these games where people are intoxicated! I'm sure they are discussing important BART security issues while they are together but are there really that few resources that have time to walk up and down random trains for enforce rules?

Maybe BART should hire Scouts from high school who can help ticket part time? It could be part of their service. Just kidding...I don't know. But all I know is...just telling people there will be fines is not going to do you any good! People continue to bring in their coffee, bagles, croissants, breakfast bars, breakfast burritos (the worst!), pizza, sandwiches, hotdogs, thai leftovers, cake from the office, king size candy bars, leftover food from ballbarks, and ice cream cones on BART.

By the way, everything I just listed, I've seen being eaten on the trains. I've told people before that they are violating the rules, especially coffee drinkers who come awfully close to spilling on me, but they ultimately don't care!! I

t's a daily habit for them, and to have it be broken, something REAL needs to happen.


Anonymous said...

people will never NOT eat on bart. these tickets are empty warnings.

Anonymous said...

They need to take a page out of the book of other metro systems, instead of someone walking up and down trains checking tickets (like in Portland), have someone uniformed/not uniformed write citations as they see them. I mean how hard can that be? Imagine the revenue streams.

Anonymous said...

For the 2nd time in 10 years, I saw a BART Police Office walking in the train! Although, I have seen them about 4 times gossiping with the station agent. Give me a break! people eat on the trains ALL the time, BART police are too lazy to enforce such rules. Heck, they cannot even install security cameras or patrol their own parking lots to prevent auto theft!

Anonymous said...

I think this whole rule is a little fascist. If someone is civilized about it, they should be able to drink some coffee, for example. BART should just have a generic rule against littering and disturbance, enforced at the discretion of the officers.

Anonymous said...

I'd be more willing to allow food/beverages on trains after the trains get their makeover.

However, some times, stale food on a hot train makes me want to vomit.

Not to mention, lots of bart riders are already slobs so this is adding fuel to the fire if they're just "allowed" to. I must say, the TO of the 6:54 train M-F at Montgomery (PM) does a wonderful job in making sure people don't eat (at least in the first car). He actually can be kind of a jerk, but then again sometimes that's what you need.

Anonymous said...

The worst food offense I've had to experience - garlic fries! Yes, someone, actually two people, actually brought garlic fries on board, proceeded to open the container & eat. The half-dozen or so of us sitting in close proximity just about wanted to puke. It was so disgusting.

I'm surprised you haven't written a post about the alleged increase in parking fines for 'poaching' assigned spots (those that only become available after a certain time). Perhaps it's on you're list.
This has been in the news the last couple of days, but alas, BART does not go far enough. Fine increases from something like $25 to $40 - what the heck is that? If they're serious about these fines, make it over $100. I hate when officials (right on up to the state & federal legislatures) waste time thinking up laws, debating those laws, voting those laws, only to make the fine either so minor that it does nothing to dissuade the individual from performing the offending act, or the law is completely unenforceable. If you're going to waste taxpayers money thinking up laws, at least make them worthwhile. I'd love to see BART increase these fines - make it to where it's actually going to hurt someone's pocket book, and not something that's just symbolic.

Anonymous said...

Get the CSAs to issue drinking/eating fines...or maybe they cannot based on their position at BPD.

I think it's a great idea to offer drinks and then up the fine, with the hopes of catching individuals drinking on the train.

I did read another article about this in the CC Times yesterday too. We must keep the revenue stream flowing at BART.