BART Votes to Add 10 More Fare Inspectors, Focuses on Rider Safety

Rider safety was the focus of a special BART Board of Directors meeting in Pittsburg on Thursday evening, and they took initial steps in bolstering the transit agency's staffing at stations.

BART officials voted Thursday night to hire 10 more fare inspectors; eight of them will focus on nights and weekend and two will be added to the weekend teams.

At the meeting, BART directors and the public discussed General Manager Grace Crunican's safety and security plan.

Crunican announced the plan on Aug. 6 in the wake of three homicides and other violent crimes that occurred at BART stations in recent months, including the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old Nia Wilson at the MacArthur Station in Oakland on July 22.

"When you ask the chief, he will say those who have no regard for lower level offenses sometimes have no regard for criminal activity, for crimes much more serious," spokeswoman Alicia Trost said.

The man who is behind bars for killing Wilson in July, for instance, was a fare evader, officials said. Authorities say cracking down on that problem may help with safety.

"We do know in that case he was a fare evader," Trost said. "Does that mean every fare evader commits a crime? Absolutely not."

BART officials said they are well aware riders are complaining about the increased level of violent crime.

The system needs more surveillance cameras, emergency call boxes on platforms and more police officers, they said.

They also need the money to buy equipment and implement programs, and that will take time.

The special meeting also included an update on the transit system's proof-of-payment strategy, which included citation data as well as a hearing on a request to hire more community service officers to expand the program launched in January.

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