BART is losing millions each year to fare evaders

Calvin Tang/Staff

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The BART Board of Directors is set to discuss how to combat fare evasion at its Thursday meeting as part of its fiscal year 2018 budget discussion.

BART is losing millions annually to fare evaders, and the issue is continuing to grow, according to Lateefah Simon, a BART district director who oversees parts of Berkeley, Oakland and Albany, among other cities. BART staff has proposed to spend $800,000 in the next fiscal year to combat this issue.

The board will consider increasing staff and establishing a team of fare inspectors to avoid fare evasion tactics such as gate hopping. The increase could add six full-time community service officers and one full-time police administrative specialist.

Another strategy detailed in the staff’s budget proposal would clarify BART’s fare policy and rules and update regulations. A drafted ordinance to change these rules reinforces that all passengers must have a valid ticket in the paid areas of BART and further clarifies proof-of-payment requirements.

The preliminary budget memo also includes proposals to allow staff to monitor the validity of tickets outside the station agent booths — the only location where staff can currently check tickets. BART staff has designed a hand-held remote that can inspect ticket fares and print a record of inspection.

BART spokesperson Jim Allison said in an email that another proposed solution is to lock the swing gates and give station agents the ability to unlock them with a remote from inside their booths.

The proposal to spend $800,000 to combat fare evasion is a staff recommendation, and the BART board will finalize the agency’s budget in June, according to Allison.

“For the mother of four who pays for her ticket everyday — and the hundreds of thousands of riders who pay into the system, we owe it to them to create stations that are clean, secure, and discourage fare evasion,” Simon said in an email.

Contact Sunny Tsai at [email protected].

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  • joe nacka

    I ride five days a week from Pittsburgh to lake Merritt. On average I see five or six fare evaders daily. The fat lazy station agents watch them and do nothing. Where are the BART police? I’m sure if I tried not to pay I would be stopped but I am a middle aged working white person. I guess they are making me pay reparations.

  • maybe if the lazy bart fare agents stopped watching televisions on their iphones in the gate agent booths, they’d notice all the fare evaders.

  • Victoria Fierce

    Very disappointing to see Lateefah working to further criminalize poverty. That’s not the person I voted for.

    • yes lets ignore all crime because poor people tend to commit more crimes..

  • alex carter

    I was a fare evader because I couldn’t figure out how the system worked. However, when I got where I was going, I thought something was wrong and checked with the lady in the BART booth and she got me straightened out. By which I mean charged me some money lol.

  • Patricia Lenhart

    How about making people pay when they use the elevators to the platform? I see whole families use those elevators to evade paying without any problem. There’s a sign telling you to pay but that’s all.

    • all the ada trolls will come out of the woodworks with their ambulance chasing lawyers and sue anyone who tries anything so common sense as that.

  • Ethan

    Another article, and another bart related issue, and another comment that mimics close to mine:”They allow strikes, they’re the highest paid, have terrible service, incredible reliability issues, they can’t keep the escalators / elevators clean ….”

  • Ethan

    Another article, and another part related issue, and another comment that mimics close to mine:”They allow strikes, they’re the highest paid, have terrible service, incredible reliability issues, they can’t keep the escalators / elevators clean ….”

  • Ethan

    How about if you are caught Fare evading, trashing, “using bart as a bathroom” you automatically get put in mandated community service to clean the system.
    Sure it’s radical, sure it’s tough to manage, but it’s better than the current doing nothing approach.

  • Ethan

    Why is locking the swing gates, even a discussion?
    MUNI put emergency exits on their swing gates. Years ago, BART could have easily done the same thing. And saved this loss of money / lost revenue.
    And stop with the BS that the agencies can’t copy each other.