ACLU Warns BART and Says a Ban on Panhandling May Be ‘Unconstitutional'

BART is considering banning panhandling in efforts to increase the stations cleanliness, but not everyone is on board with the idea.

According to the San Francisco Examiner, some BART officials are considering the ban that some groups, like the ACLU, consider unconstitutional.

The BART official proposing the idea stated she felt inspired to propose this ban after a rider expressed feelings about not being able to escape panhandlers or performers. She is also looking into banning busking, which refers to when individuals are playing music for money on trains and stations.

“Your heart goes out to these people if they truly are in need,” said a BART rider at the Warm Springs BART station in Freemont, “I would like to see it different, something else being done.”

Another rider said this would be something good, especially for those that commute during rush hour.

“There’s no room for panhandling during rush hours anyway,” the rider said.

In an e-mail, the ACLU called the potential ban “unconstitutional” stating that such actions equal banning free speech.

While the ACLU did not explicitly say they would sue BART if they move forward with the ban, they said BART would “likely have issues” with them referencing a recent legal battle they had with the city of Sacramento over a similar ordinance last year.

No official ordinance has been scheduled for the potential ban.

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