San Francisco

BART to Address Costly Fare Evasion Issue

BART is taking measures to address its issue with fare evaders, which cost the transit agency millions of dollars each year.

“Every day I ride, I see people jumping and going through the exit gates,” one rider said.

In March, BART began issuing civil citations for fare evasion, but the majority of those citations were never paid. In 16 months, 14,000 citations were issued, but less than 1,500 have been paid voluntarily.

Sending violators to collections doesn’t seem to be working, either.

“We’ve sent more than 500 citations to the franchise tax board, and my understanding as to this point is only one of those that was actually sent to the franchise has been collected upon,” said Chris Filippi, BART spokesman.

BART said it doesn’t want to criminalize fare evasion, but riders have questioned what the agency is doing to solve this issue. BART said that an anti-fare evasion blitz in four San Francisco stations caused the number of people adding fare to their tickets to jump by a third. BART said it’s working to harden stations by alarming emergency exits and swing gates.

In Richmond, BART is testing enhanced fare gates, but riders have seen issues there too.

“People were actually going under still, so it’s been productive to an extent but there are other ways people try to get around things,” another rider said.

BART will revisit the fare gate issue later this year.

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