BART adopts cellphone disruption policy

Following controversy over Bay Area Rapid Transit officials’ decision to cut all cellphone communication at multiple stations in August to prevent a protest, BART Board of Directors adopted a policy this week to only interrupt service under “extraordinary circumstances.”

At its meeting Thursday, the board approved a policy that defined those circumstances as including using cellphones “as instrumentalities in explosives to facilitate violent criminal activity or endanger District passengers,” or “to facilitate specific plans or attempts to destroy District property or substantially disrupt public transit services,” according to a BART press release published Thursday.

BART has faced criticism after cell phone service was interrupted on Aug. 11 during a protest organized by group No Justice No BART — a decision that prompted a series of protests over the past few months.

The newly-adopted policy includes additions from the Federal Communications Commission and the American Civil Liberties Union and is intended to “balance free speech rights with legitimate public safety concerns,” said BART Board President Bob Franklin in the release.