You walk into BART in a San Francisco station – Embarcadero, Powell, Civic Center, Montgomery- and it’s packed, as usual, during rush hour. You stand in the back of one of the lines. After 15 minutes, you’re at the front and your Fremont train’s approaching. A woman walks up in front of you, cutting in line, like it’ s no big deal, then snags the last open seat in that train. Sound familiar?
It’s no secret that public transit isn’t always the nicest experience. There are so many annoyances that have now led a group of BART passenger to create a page on Facebook dubbed “BART Idiots Hall of Fame.”
Sean Farnan rides BART from Oakland to work in San Francisco every day. He tells NBC Bay Area that rude riders and gross habits went from just occasional annoyances to happening just about every day.
“A few friends, we were always talking about horrible BART commutes. One of them said I don’t believe you,” said Farnan,
So he snapped a photo to document the worst of it and posted it on Facebook. Next thing he knew, others began doing the same thing until there were 100 people in the group in just a matter of days.
Now the page, dubbed “BART Idiot Hall of Fame” has several thousand followers who post up pictures of every variety, from the light and funny that feature a man who set up a hammock in one train, to blasting BART riders who sleep and take up multiple seats. There are plenty of pictures of riders resting their feet on the seats, shoes and all, and some who put their bare feet right up next to a stranger.
One of the most popular complaints? The people who pretend the train isn’t packed, and decide to put bags on empty seats where someone else could be sitting comfortably. Mike Doss of Fremont says this is a BART issue, not the passengers’ fault.
“They have a direct route to SFO and also the Oakland airport. They have to understand that luggage is going to come on and it’s going to take space,” Doss said.
Then there’s the issue of those seats on the side with signs that say they’re designated for the elderly or those with disabilities. 63-year-old Althea Rankins of Hayward uses a prescribed walker. She says the riders won’t stop at ignoring her. When she requests to sit there in a packed train, she said it can get nasty.
“They give attitude. Some might cuss sometimes, too!” Rankins said.
In a statement, BART tells NBC Bay Area that its hands are tied.
“There is no known law that allows BART police to cite persons sitting in those chairs. As the sign states, federal law requires that those seats be made available.”
As for noise, like when people blast their music loudly from their cell phones, BART says it can do something. Officers have the authority to ticket people for “disturbing another person by loud or unreasonable noise.”
The BART Idiot Hall of Fame page also features many complaints about the plain disgusting.
Lauren Kaapcke of Pleasanton said, “A few times I’ve seen drunk people throwing up on BART. Or you get on the train and there’s already puke in the seat. That’s not too nice.”
It gets worse than that (yes, it’s possible). Someone posted a picture on the Facebook page of what appears to be human feces on a seat.
Along with the issues of sanitation, arise those of safety. Rankins admitted oftentimes she feels unsafe.
“They need to monitor more and I think they need the officers or the security officers that will stay on the train,” she said.
BART says each officer on patrol is required to ride trains there times every shift. That amounts to roughly 50 to 60 officers patrolling the trains each day around the Bay.
It began as a quasi-joke, poking fun at BART and its routine riders. Now, the page creator is hoping this will actually do some good and bring awareness to BART officials. In the meantime, followers on that page continue to post up pictures and complaints collected from their daily BART commutes.