Thousands of protesters fare evade

Yesterday, while tens of thousands of immigrants rallied throughout the Bay Area for the "Day Without Immigrants," many of the protesters took BART to get to the events. BART experienced huge numbers of fare evaders, walking through the emergency gates, instead of paying for their rides. In one example, a group of nearly 70 students and their teachers in Berkeley tried to argue with the Station Agent to get free passage. When BART explained that they could not do this, the teachers told the kids to just rush the gates. These teachers should be fired for contributing to the delinquincy of minors. They encouraged their students to break the law. They taught these kids that stealing was acceptable and honorable. A few honest, law-abiding, respectable students purchased tickets to gain legal entry, and their classmates booed them. What a shame.

Another group of about 200, at another station, began rushing the gates, in an attempt to get a free ride on BART. A severely out-numbered police officer had to direct the crowd to proceed in a civil manner, because their mob-mentality behavior could have led to many of those individuals being trampled, or pushed down stairs. And being out-numbered, there was no way this officer could safely and effectively stop the crowd from fare evading.

All throughout the day, cases of large groups of fare evaders, as well as individuals and small groups, plagued the system. Who knows how much revenue BART lost yesterday. For a system that is already cash strapped, these sorts of actions impact service and cost for those of us who pay our fares.

As a paying BART rider, I am disgusted by the people who felt that they deserved a free ride on a system that you and I pay for. Fare evasion is a huge enough problem as it is. But, when people decide, en masse, that they are above the law, it hurts ALL of us.

Plain and simple, what they did was stealing, and NOT respectable. They claimed their fare evading was "justified" because it was for a "good cause." I wonder if any of them stole food from local restaurants because they had to eat while they were protesting, and it was for a "good cause." Probably not... so then why get a free ride from BART?

GREAT WRITE UP! I'm a Station Agent. The above is TRUE and probably UNDERSTATED. These students, with or without adult supervision, literally stormed the gates at several BART stations. Stealing is exactly what they did. When you take something without paying for it, it's STEALING. Those who booed fellow students who did "THE RIGHT THING" showed us that the predominant mind set is I AM ENTITLED. Cudos to those who did the right thing instead of caving in to peer pressure. Their parents should be proud of them.

Fare evasion is a serious problem on BART on a daily basis. When huge crowds of entitlement minded people rush the gates, there is nothing one, or even five, Station Agents can do - and these low lifes know it. To have educators teach our children that stealing is acceptable is outrageous. But it was the BESEREKLEY station, wasn't it?

BART lost thousands of dollars Monday. NOT due to the boycott by immigrants who didn't go to work, but due to the thieving mentality encouraged by teachers and other role models. Where was the media while this was going on? They appeared at the Fruitvale station to interview the Station Agent simply because the booth was decorated for Cinco de Mayo. The media assumed the decorations were a show of support for the demonstrators. They had no story once they were told it was decorated last week in recognition of Cinco de Mayo. But where were they when the demonstrators were breaking the law by rushing the gates at Fruitvale????

Frankly, I'm sick and tired of the entitlement mentality and the biased media coverage of such events. Good thing the media didn't come around to my station and ask my opinion...they'd have to censor my comments.

I'm wondering if this was even a school sanctioned event? It seems they would have to obtain signed permission from the parents of these students to "cut" class. If so, this was planned well enough in advance that the students should have had money to purchase BART tickets. Otherwise is seems the adult with the students had every intention of fare evading (S T E A L I N G) from BART. Perhaps this teacher's name is "Fagan"(a character in Oliver Twist)? The teacher certainly has the characteristics of Fagan...large group of impressionable youths, corrupting their values, teaching them the fine art of stealing, telling them it's justified and defending them against any retribution.

If the parents of these students knew their children were going to steal rides from BART, and allowed them to do it anyway, they are just as culpable as the teacher...actually more so. Do you think this teacher would have tried to swarm onto a bus going to SF? I doubt it. How about commandering taxis? HAH! Well, why didn't they just steal a bunch of cars to take the students to SF? Oh, right! Stealing a car has more serious consequences than stealing a ride from BART. Hijacking a bus would also have serious consequences. Stealing is stealing. If you turn the other way when a child steals something small, why are you surprised when the same child steals something big?

I agree with these posters. What this teacher and the students did was wrong and not at all respectable. This teacher showed his students that they are above the law, don't have to listen to a person of authority (Station Agents, Police Officers)and that they are ENTITLED to anything they want, by any means they can get it. Does this teacher think those students respect him/her? What happens when these same students challenge the authority of this teacher? Ah, but that teacher has the power to inflict the consequences, doesn't he/she? Fail everyone who doesn't fall into line. Double standard here.

And that's why my children are in private school. If I found out one of my children cut class to attend this ridiculous demonstration, there'd be serious consequences at home. If a teacher took my child on a politically motivated trip without my persmission, I'd be at the school demanding the teacher's resignation not to mention the lawsuit and charges I'd file for kidnapping my child. I agree with the first comments - the teachers contributed to the delinquency of minors - and I'd be in court to make sure they were convicted on any charges related to this unconscionable behavior.

High praise for the students who bought tickets and processed them through the fare gates. They did the right thing despite the hoots and cat-calls of the thieves they were with.

Does BART have any video of this mass fare evasion? If they do, it should be shown on all the Bay Area news programs and distributed to the schools in question so the teachers can be charged and prosecuted.

And these same protestors on Monday are supporting the illegals who are breaking the law to begin with.

640. (a) Any of the acts described in subdivision (b) is an
infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed two hundred fifty
dollars ($250) and by community service for a total time not to
exceed 48 hours over a period not to exceed 30 days, during a time
other than during his or her hours of school attendance or
employment, when committed on or in any of the following:
(1) Any facility or vehicle of a public transportation system as
defined by Section 99211 of the Public Utilities Code.
(2) Any facility of, or vehicle operated by any entity subsidized
by, the Department of Transportation.
(3) Any leased or rented facility or vehicle for which any of the
entities described in paragraph (1) or (2) incur costs of cleanup,
repair, or replacement as a result of any of those acts.
(b) (1) Evasion of the payment of any fare of the system.

I think it was horribly distasteful to teach these young adults to break the law. There are no clauses or exceptions to this law that permit masses of people to evade fare. I think some people fail to recognize that BART is a business, not a public right. You do not have a constitutional right to free public transportation.

The people that rushed the stations and rode for free are hypocrites. They believe they are doing something good, but their illegal actions cancel out any good they accomplished. Why didn't BART's LOYAL riders, who pay thousands of dollars per year, get a free ride? Why did these protesters believe they were ENTITLED to ride for free?

I'm going to copy/paste this California Penal Code section, enlarge the print and put it on the window of my Station Agent Booth! Thanks for this info!

587c. (CA Penal Code) Railroads; fraudulent evasion of fare; punishment.

Every person who fraudulently evades, or attempts to evade the payment of his fare; while traveling upon any railroad, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, an upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or by both fine and imprisonment.

Yes, BART is considered a railroad in the eyes of the law...unfortunately, the DAs don't like to charge people with the misdemeanor.

OH HO! This is even better than 640(b)(1). It ought to be posted right next to the fare charts on all of the ticket machines and the ones posted on the booth windows. Give the Station Agents a little more ammunition to stop and or even prevent fare evasion. Where's that idiot who posted how to make your own BART tickets on this site? Throw the book at him/her!

Someone wrote about reinstituting a “chain-gang” like punishment for those who violate BART laws. Sounds like a good idea. If DA’s don’t want to hand out fines and prison time, then community service (cleaning the BART) would be an excellent idea. I would vote for that.

"When you take something without paying for it, it's STEALING."

Well, pardon my abruptness, but that's bullshit.

The principle of "stealing" requires a patient -- that is, something which is stolen -- as well as the scarcity of the patient -- that is, something which is in limited supply.

While the BART system ostensibly has scarcity, as it can only provide the number of rides according to the capacity of each train, you're confusing gate-hopping with stealing in that no physical obeject, or as we say in the linguistics biz, "patient", was stolen.

Although it's true that the gate hoppers neglected to pay their fare, and in so doing, cheated BART out of the fare they were owed, it is not true that the gate hoppers actually stole anything from BART. And while that may seem counterintuitive at first, remember that the trains would have run on those lines, at the frequencies they ran that day, regardless of whether or not there had been gate hoppers.

I'm certainly not saying that what the gate hoppers did was wrong. I am, however, pointing out that just as downloading music and movies illegally is not stealing, so too, gate hopping is not stealing, in the strict, legal and linguistic definitions of stealing.

Free ride, though, absolutely. And in the other threads, they discuss exactly what laws were violated, and certainly that, too. But don't call it stealing.

"I'm certainly not saying that what the gate hoppers did was wrong. I am, however, pointing out that just as downloading music and movies illegally is not stealing, so too, gate hopping is not stealing, in the strict, legal and linguistic definitions of stealing."
I certainly hope you don't really mean you don't think that gate hopping is not wrong. I'm hoping it's just another of the many typos in your post. In trying to sound literate and intelligent, you come off just the opposite.