Bay City News

New Emergency Call Boxes Installed at Coliseum BART Station

New emergency call boxes, complete with cameras and flashing blue lights, have been installed on BART's Coliseum station platform as part of a pilot program, according to the transit agency.

The three new call boxes, installed in the center and at both ends of the platform, were activated on Friday, BART spokeswoman Anna Duckworth said.

"The idea is to gauge whether or not they are being used, whether or not riders like having them there ... and whether or not they lead to arrests," Duckworth said.

Each box has a direct line to BART police dispatch and each has a camera and flashing light that are activated whenever the intercom button is pushed.

The camera is mounted on a pole above where callers stand when using the system "so the dispatcher can see the caller and their immediate surroundings," Duckworth said.

Dispatchers already have real-time access to security cameras that have long been installed on BART station platforms, Duckworth said.

The new boxes also display the caller's location to dispatchers and could prove useful for people without cellphones or cell reception on platforms, according to BART.

If the call boxes prove effective and popular, they could be installed throughout the BART system for less than $10 million, BART officials said.

The call boxes, along with other security upgrades, were proposed last August by outgoing BART General Manager Grace Crunican as part of the transit system's "Safety and Security Action Plan," which was formulated in the wake of 17-year-old Nia Wilson's stabbing death at the MacArthur station.

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