Local News

Plan to keep offenders away from BART stations

Monday, April 29, 2013

Troublemakers on BART beware: the transit agency will announce a new way it plans to keep known offenders out of BART stations. This whole idea is in large part to protect BART employees, especially station agents who find themselves vulnerable to attack.

"I've been assaulted physically, verbally. I mean many of us have," said Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 President Antonette Bryant.

Bryant is president of the union that represents BART station agents. She says her members are eager for the new law to take effect, which would allow BART to ban certain people from its property.

"And this law will prevent people that are known offenders from coming back. So that's important to those of us, we are the front line," said Bryant.

The plan has been in the works for over two years, ever since state legislators passed a bill allowing transit agencies like BART to kick out troublemakers. It would target people who commit a range of offenses, from urinating and defecating in public to those who beat up on passengers and employees. The ban could be as short as a month, or as long as a year, depending on the frequency and seriousness of the crime. Many passengers we talked to are all for it.

"It would be nice. I mean it would keep it safe and usable and pleasant," said BART rider Brenna Lundy.

"It's a good idea, honestly, because people can be quite annoying at times," said BART rider Liana Shapiro.

BART says there are safeguards against misuse. Anyone can seek to have the ban overturned by requesting an administrative hearing. Yet despite that option, some passengers have their concerns.

"I think what it's going to be used for, for the most part, is a tool to keep the homeless out of the stations," said BART rider Joe Briones.

"People might think the transit system is a public service, you don't have the right to keep me off. Even if I'm an offender, that's a police matter, let the police handle it," said BART rider George Maddox.

BART will announce more details Monday. The plan is scheduled to take effect May 6.

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BART, crime, local news, lilian kim
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