Starbucks was, like, sooo 2005. Now get it off my train!

Every morning, I catch a Millbrae train at del Norte at 6:17am for my trip to Embarcadero. I always get on the last car, so I can climb the handy and never-used staircase at the back of the Embarcadero station. Every morning, a girl gets on at Downtown Berkeley carrying a HUGE Starbucks cup of coffee and some kind of pastry/muffin/scone wrapped in loud crinkly wax paper. Every morning, she drinks, eats, and wipes crumbs all over the seat.

Until yesterday, this was merely annoying. But yesterday, for the first time since I moved to El Cerrito, the last car was a spiffy refurbished car, with the nice flooring and new seats. Smelled and looked great.

I'd really like this girl to stop her munch and guzzle fest, but in the interest of limiting confrontation so early in the a.m., is there any way to just inform the ticket-writing gods that this girl will be on the train with food and drink in hand, on any morning they happen to be in the area?

Basically you're asking how you can harass someone who just wants to get a bite to eat and have a cup of coffee at, what, 7 in the morning because you are too much of a coward to confront them yourself? You're what's wrong with BART.

basically you are saying that someone that wishes to do the right thing and report a crime in progress should allow the person to continue committing crimes.. such as vandalism, violating the rules of a transit agency, etc.

You are whats wrong with places like Oakland ghettos that are nasty. I can only imagine what type of neighborhood (or is it "hood") you live in.

Anyway, good citizens that are not intimidated by the ghetto "stop snitchin" mentality could simply move to another car and push the intercom button and let the train operator know.. You should never confront the individual, let the police do that.

The reason trains are so messed up is because some people ignore the people that do the crime and don't get involved. Then they come to websites and badmouth BART yet when you ask what they did about it they say nothing..

If you see something wrong on trains or parking lots, REPORT IT.. Next time you may sit in that spot, or something may happen to your car in the lot.

I don't consider drinking a coffee during a morning commute a crime. BART's no eating/drinking rules are inconvenient and outmoded. Responsible adults can eat and drink and take responsibility for the cleanliness of their community. Narc-minded cowards like yourself can contact the authorities to intervene in a dangerous, criminal situation like sipping a latte or eating a scone.

Of course if you see something dangerous or threatening on BART you should do something about it. If you consider drinking a coffee dangerous or threatening, I don't really know what else to say.

boopiejones's picture

the OP was very specific that the girl was not a "responsible adult." they said: "Every morning, she drinks, eats, and wipes crumbs all over the seat." that IS and SHOULD BE a crime.

I will accept that leaving your food refuse on BART is poor, poor behavior. It's just unclear to me why the OP can't politely remind the lady in question that she is utilizing a public service and her behavior is negatively impacting the experience of other riders. Why someone would have to "notify the authorities" in this case is beyond me.

TreoBART's picture

Yeah, because asking nicely goes a real long way these days. Have you been living under a rock for the last 10 years? If the OP is lucky he'll get a New York wave, and if he's unlucky he'll get get a face full of coffee. It doesn't pay to confront people yourself, unless you're a 6'2 wrestler or a woman with an attitude the size of Texas.

MFB: You want me to "confront" them, but you don't want me to "harass" them? Huh?

No, I'm just trying to understand the reasoning behind why the majority of opinions expressed here are that you should take an issue like this to the train operator or other authority figure rather than just politely reminding someone of their manners.

I still hold that this is just an absolutely minuscule infraction compared to the daily, completely egregious behavior that goes on on BART and that anyone can witness. And I still believe that BART's food and beverage policies are extremely inconvenient and outdated, leading to such truly laughable efforts such as an attempt to implement BART-approved "sippy cups" for adults that don't even work.

pgoat's picture

MFB: Have you ever sat in gum, or had someone spill their hot coffee down your leg, or had a 2 inch cockroach crawl across your arm? I have and so have a lot of other people who take BART. You might think the food and beverage policy is inconvenient and outdated, but I'm wondering how long your ride is that you can't wait to eat or drink until you get off the train? I was on a train a few weeks ago that absolutely reeked of sewage/dirty feet and I looked around only to find out it was some hippy eating god-knows-what completely oblivious to the smell and the mess she was making on the seat next to her. And no, I didn't call the train operator, I told her flat out the crap she was eating stank and she needed to stop. The rules are there because there are a LOT of people out there lacking common sense and manners.

I completely understand how incredibly disgusting BART can be, and how much more disgusting it might be without these rules. However, I have never personally experienced the rules being enforced. Despite this, I am a compliant person and want no trouble so I never eat/drink on BART, except for bottled water on very hot days - something that should absolutely be excepted, but isn't, under the current rules.

However, in just a few short weeks these rules will have an impact on my ability to utilize BART in a convenient manner. I am leaving straight from work to SFO for a trip. I am taking BART from 19th St. all the way to airport - this trip can be nearly an hour long depending on delays, and including time on AirTran and walking to the station. I will then have to immediately board a plane. Would it be so wrong for me to enjoy a sandwich, or a beverage of some kind on the admittedly long BART ride, pretty much the only chance I'll get after working all day? I don't think that's wrong. I'm a responsible adult capable of cleaning up after myself and not spilling my food and drink all over like an obnoxious child. And yet, BART rules, and some of the other posters here, deem my actions criminal and unacceptable.

The whole situation seems all the more ludicrous to me as I recently took BART on a crowded weekend and witnessed a woman take up an entire bench seat area to change her child's diaper while the train was in motion. Somehow, the crowd on the train believe this is acceptable. But if I bring a sandwich on the train - Look out! Criminal Behavior!

boopiejones's picture

Can't you eat a little something at work before leaving for your trip? If your employer won't allow sammiches on the job, why should bart allow them on the train?

Unfortunately, public transportation is all about planning ahead - you need to look up the schedule, pee and eat ahead of time. And if you hit snooze one too many times, you're SOL.

Just because someone can drive 90mph safely on the freeway doesn't make it ok to do so. You're breaking the law. Period.

Same principle applies to eating on the train. You're responsible. Great. We wish there were more people like you. However, majority of people that ride the train aren't. You eat on the train, you're breaking the law. Period.

Just because someone can chew gum in Singapore without spitting it on the ground doesn't make it okay to do so. He's breaking the law. Period. Ditto adulterers in Iran and apostates in Afghanistan. It's against Teh Law!

Seriously, do you actually think all legislation and regulation is somehow magically legitimate? If you are worried about litter and mess, maybe you should be focusing on that. This rule is unnecessarily burdensome by restricting reasonable activities--including drinking water--because some people are losers.

The fact is, you don't actually wish there were more responsible people. They might question overly restrictive laws like this that you agree with because you personally don't find them a problem.

I have taken BART *all the way* to and from Pleasant Hill to SFO a number of times without drinking or eating on the train. I had no idea it was such an accomplishment.


You must think the cars soil and stink themselves up on their own. lol

The cars are filty now because of people that "just want to get a bite to eat and have a cup of coffee".

What! no pictures?

If I can learn how to get a pic from my phone (RAZR) to the computer, I will post some. In fact, I can post them daily. :-)

get a $5 bluetooth adapter for your computer, it's the easiest way. ( and cheaper then a USB cable )

bumbo's picture

The solution is simple. If you witness anyone eating/drinking and creating a unsanitary environment for you and your fellow passengers, notify the train operator via train intercom. Call from an adjacent car if that makes you more comfortable. Be prepared to give the following information: suspect description from head to toe, ethnicity, approximate age, car number, and clearly state that the subject is eating/drinking and creating a mess.

Eating/drinking on a BART train is a violation of the California PC 640:

If you really want to stick it to the perpetrator, be available for the BART police officer(s) when they arrive and be prepared to point out the subject, and then, tell the cops your witnessed the subject violating CA PC 640 and you will do a Citizen's Arrest.

Most people that call in don't go beyond sniveling to the train operator via train intercom... but if you want some results, now you know what to do.

bumbo, I read through your penal code link. It also includes this troubling law:

"(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:
Urinating or defecating in a system facility or vehicle,
except in a lavatory. However, this paragraph shall not apply to a
person who cannot comply with this paragraph as a result of a
disability, age, or a medical condition.

Citing the actual law does not help your argument at all. I never argued whether or not it was a law, I just argued the law was inconvenient and unnecessary. The link you pointed to creates a situation where, theoretically, a small child or elderly person is free to use BART as a bathroom and it's perfectly legal, whereas a healthy, responsible adult is committing a crime when they drink a coffee. If you think this is somehow an acceptable state of affairs, then I suppose this discussion is finished. Good luck with your Citizen's Arrest Sandwich-busting Squad.

I say citizens arrest.. Does it really matter if it gets thrown out in court? I figure the violator is going to pay or have to take time out of their schedule to goto court..

either way they end up having to take the time to fight it.. Sometimes taking a day off work to go to court would cost the person more than the simple fine.

Even if the person that did the CA doesn't show up, the accused does.. Or the fine sticks..

The end result should be someone that no longer soils the train..
Just never have someone cited on a made up charge just to waste their time, you can get into trouble.

boopiejones's picture

the way i read that law, it would only apply to someone who CANNOT comply with it. unzipping your pants and peeing on the platform means you COULD HAVE complied with the law, but chose not to. the "shall not apply" part of the rule would come into play a leaky diaper, overflowing colostomy bag, or documented incontenance problem. by definition, CHOOSING to shit on a car cannot exempt you from the rules regardless of age, the fact that you are wheelchair bound, etc.

bumbo's picture

"Citing the actual law does not help your argument at all. I never argued whether or not it was a law, I just argued the law was inconvenient and unnecessary. The link you pointed to creates a situation where, theoretically, a small child or elderly person is free to use BART as a bathroom and it's perfectly legal, whereas a healthy, responsible adult is committing a crime when they drink a coffee. If you think this is somehow an acceptable state of affairs, then I suppose this discussion is finished. Good luck with your Citizen's Arrest Sandwich-busting Squad."

I can respect your opinion about the law being "inconvenient and unnecessary"... however, I'd be willing to bet that the public who frequents the system would be outraged if the law was not in place. You may think that the trains are messy now, but if there were no rules about eating/drinking on the trains, the condition of the trains would be WAY worse than they are now. The number of folks that violate the rule may be a common and daily occurrence, but there are many riders who actually follow the no eating/drinking policy. If the law abiding riders started to chow down their bowls of curry on the way to work... most would appreciate the no eating/drinking law. I don't think drinking coffee on the train is a big deal, until they spill the coffee on the seats and floors, or simply leave their half empty cups on the train.

Regarding your argument about the loophole that allows a small kid or elderly person to use the train as a restroom... I'm pretty certain Bart police will cite most individuals for urinating/defecating on the train if they witnessed the act themselves or if a witness was willing to do a citizens arrest on the subject. Whether or not the individual may squeak past the loophole of PC640... let the judge decide.

yesterday, I was on a new car and someone took their subway sandwich apart all over the floor as well as left all the subway wrappings there, newspaper in many pieces, etc. i've seen the T.O.s come out and ask people to stop eating. it takes the T.O. two or three tries to get the person to figure out, yes, it is MEEEEE who is being asked to quit eating, and then as soon as the T.O. goes away, the person is right back at it so what good is it going to do for a passenger to confront an offending person if the offending eaters won't even listen to the T.O.s? same comment goes to the gross people that have to put their feet on the new seats too. BART is not your couch, your kitchen, your bathroom or your bedroom or, a place to deal with your sinus problems. i would be SOOOOOOOO grossed out if i had to witness someone changing a kid's diaper on BART. ewe!!!

Mikokat's picture

I remember about three to four weeks ago I was riding out to my Dad's place in Benicia on the PBP line to Pleasant Hill. I was sitting in the last car since I had my bike and that's usually the best place for it. I was sitting the the wheelchair spot and there was this couple with their two kids about two and four years old riding. Around Rockridge, I smell this odor and figure that one of those kids crapped his diaper. Okay, so he's not potty trained yet so I wasn't that annoyed by it, but I wasn't going to smell that for the rest of the ride. I get up and move to the next car and as I get up, their mother gives me this glare as to say, "How dare you move just because my 'special little guy' made a poo-poo!" That's what got me annoyed. I DON'T WANT TO SMELL BABY CRAP ON THE TRAIN. And they didn't get out at the next stop. I remember they waited until Walnut Creek before exiting. What the hell was that about? She should exit at the next stop and change her kid's diaper before continuing! Thank god she didn't do it on the train! And if she may have, I wasn't there.

Shrapnel's picture


Your posts reek of entitlement. Good luck telling whatever it is you are babbling about to the BART Police Officer who is citing you out.

I think everything has been said that can be said.

It's against the law, whether you agree with it or not. If you eat or drink on the trains, you are guilty of an infraction. Period.

it would make my day to charge someone with aggravated battery (a felony) for doing something as stupid as pushing another person, causing them to lose their balance (and possibly fall and suffer great bodily harm).

Good luck with your life-long power trip.

Shrapnel's picture

Well thank you!

Way to bring something from another thread, post it entirely out of context, and then attempt to attack me personally. I'm not gonna take the bait, thanks.

Personal attacks on this site will be removed.

Oh, and yeah. What a power trip I'm on! Charging someone with battery if they strike and cause injury to another person. One might just call that good police work.

Good day sir.