BART said it’s done a top-to-bottom safety review since the recent rash of violent attacks but its proposed new safety plan is raising eyebrows with some riders.
On the heels of three deadly attacks on BART, commuters said it’s time for change as they simply don’t feel safe.
BART has come up with a $28 million plan, adding more officers at stations this week but it needs broad approval to make other changes like upgrading its camera system, adding video analytics and expanding a no panhandling ordinance.
"We had three horrible incidents, anything we can do to ensure rider safety is important to us," said BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas. "That does not make me feel safe, it makes people feel less safe."
Most of the riders at Thursday’s meeting blasted the new plan, saying BART is using Nia Wilson’ murder to justify measures that would criminalize the poor.
"I don’t think it’s making people safe to put more power in the hands of government to have more police more surveillance that’s leading us down the road of a police state," said rider Starchild.
Despite criticism, the board gave the green light to move forward on some of the proposals, but decided to hold off on others until they can hear from more riders.
Board member Joel Keller said he’s never heard so much fear from riders the represents in the suburbs.
"This is the highest level of concern for people’s safety I’ve experienced in over 20 years," he said.
Even with the board’s delay on voting on many of safety measures, some, like installing emergency call boxes, could take place this fall.