Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fare skippers

So, those of you who are BART agents, please chime in. I know this observation does not represent every station but I was pretty appalled. Three young men in their teens nonchalantly opened up the disabled entry/exit side door right by the turnstiles, and walked in. The agent seated inside the office was about 6 feet away but was looking down or just didn't care that they were walking through the side and not paying.

An older woman who had just walked through the turnstile confronted them and said, "You need to go back around and pay for a ticket." By this time, the agent did look up but didn't come out to see what this confrontation was about. Then, one of the boys said, "*hit, I know people who work for BART and they say people do this all the time and it's no a big deal."

I had to go run after my shuttle so I didn't catch the end of this. But I hoped the older woman had tapped on the ticket office window, and have the agent force them to exit and pay for a ticket.

This is not the first time I've seen or written about fare skippers. It's pretty common. Is BART doing anything to stop this? I've confronted these violators a couple times but I'm not always in a position to do so. But can't station agents watch more carefully? Or are they too busy to?


Anonymous said...

my comment has nothing to do with this post, but I just came across it (don't even know how I found it) & thought I'd share.

From the East Bay Express:
BART parking lots are assault-and-robbery hotspots...

Wow, I knew BART parking lots where not immune to crime, but this is insane! I wonder where one can obtain BART crime statistics on a fairly regular basis. For example, some home-town weeklies include around 10 or so crime tid-bits, how can we, BART-riding folk, obtain information to better prepare ourselves?

Anonymous said...

The station agents will tell you that they are not police so, basically, it's not their job. They don't do enforcement except perhaps, at best, to tell someone to do or not to do something, but drop it at that. I gave up on them when I asked an agent to please tell people smoking in a posted no smoking area to stop. The agent walked over to see what was happening, took a look, then walked away and said I could make a citizen's arrest if I wished while he called BART police. What a joke! BART should dump the agents and replace them with police who will provide a full-time enforcement presence in each station. Since the police could easily do some of the administrative tasks now done by the agents and since the agents can't do police enforcement, a move in this direction makes sense. Of course, then the police will say that they only want to do police work so the only answer is to hire those who will accept the job as it is designed.

Anonymous said...

> BART should dump the agents and replace them with police who will provide a full-time enforcement presence in each station.

The agents were originally an information resource, but, over years, the public has learned how to use BART. That function is now minimal, and many questions get answered by other BART people near the station entrance (janitors, TO's passing through to work, police officers and even local vendors selling papers, etc.)

BART needs some kind of officer - someone in between CSA and sworn officer. Much like the fare enforcement officers on ACE. Multi staffed stations could have one agent and one enforcement officer. Other stations would have just the enfocement officer. It would take a transition period, with multiple staffing.

The numerous "quality of life" violations are having an impact on the speed of BART, as well as the safety and quality of the environment.

I have heard that about two dozen tickets a day get written for the infractions like fare evasion, smoking and gross food violations. Most of the sworn officers spend time on felonies and misdemeanors, like assault and theft; which is good.

But sworn officers are expensive, and an intermediate level of training and authority would be good, and cost effective. At any given time, there are only about 50 officers for the entire system - 44 stations and 50+ trains. But having a hundred enforcement officers (per shift) would mean a high likelihood of an officer eing available for every train and station.

Anonymous said...

You should hang out at Balboa Park.. That station is fare evasion central. They jump over the gates, go through the emergency exit up the stairs, ride through behind other people, you name it. I've never once seen anything done about it, and there are some evaders that you see doing it every morning. It's just something they do cause they know they'll get away with it.

Anonymous said...

Not that it's OK for the agents to let the fare skippers go, but the real icing on the cake, is when you see a regular commuter, or an occassional BART user get hassled by the agent because they don't have the fare or their ticket is not valid. Yeah,...abuse the people that follow the rules!!!

Anonymous said...

Hopping over the gate is really nothing. Just make sure no cops youre fine. Its almost too easy