Demonstrators drew attention to rising transit prices and increased police presence on public transit by jumping turnstiles en masse at multiple locations across the country Friday.
Demonstrators, who were said to be predominantly people of color and “born and bred in the Bay Area,” according to a press release from the demonstrators, gathered at the 16th Street Mission BART station in San Francisco to jump turnstiles. Nationwide calls for fare strikes Black Friday were inspired by similar actions carried out in New York and were intended to show solidarity with Chilean citizens, whose strikes have led to calls for constitutional reforms.
According to the press release, the Bay Area demonstrators alleged that overpolicing disproportionately affects young people of color and homeless people, while fare increases disadvantage the Bay Area’s low-income residents who depend heavily on BART.
“This is a call for a strike addressing all the ways they are squeezing us, all the ways they are making it impossible to live,” according to an article from It’s Going Down, an anarchist media website.
About 40 people participated in the San Francisco demonstration, according to BART spokesperson Alicia Trost. Trost added that demonstrators rode the train for only one stop before exiting at the Civic Center/UN Plaza station. There were no arrests or citations issued to fare evaders during this demonstration.
“BART takes seriously complaints related to bias policing. All officers receive training in the areas of fair and impartial policing, bias-based policing, crisis intervention, cultural competence training, and de-escalation training,” Trost said in an email. “BART also has in place an Independent Police Auditor to investigate complaints and a Citizen Review Board to offer independent oversight and recommendations about training.”
The last BART fare increase took place in January 2018, with the next one to be made in January 2020, according to Trost.
Trost added that BART will participate in a means-based discount program next year, which will offer a 20% discount for adult passengers who earn less than twice the federal poverty level income.