Monday's Free Ride on BART

Tell your free BART fare (horror/heroic) stories here. The ride home should be interesting because the creeps, thugs, and rude tourists will be out in force tonight. I plan to have my cell ready to call BART police.

Today, was Sumbags ride free day! As with spare the air days, today every low life without a job, decided to ride BART, why not---IT's Free! Those who even suggect to make public transportation free, are not living in the real world!

A blogger who writes about BART posted a typical situation seen on BART today and she is a better writer, than myself:

BART status this morning

Not sure if it's because I left very early today, but my BART train was not crowded at all. However, I suspect it is because the system was a few minutes delay (less than 5) and the trains are not spread out by time properly. The train I hopped on arrived 4 minutes earlier (probably a delayed train from earlier) than anticipated, forcing me to sprint up the escalators and stairs. I barely made it on.

Having free BART today was nice but it definitely had its drawbacks and safety concerns. In my train car today was a group of very questionable characters who were literally harrassing passengers around them. They seemed like they were just taking a fieldtrip to nowhere- had no idea how the system worked nor where they are going.

They even ended up harrassing a larger woman, calling her fat, asking her how she got to be this **ckin large. They then started cussing at nearby passengers, asking them what they are looking at. A lot of passengers walked out of the car to another. Then, they started screaming, where the **ck you are going. It was actually a little scary. They looked like they could very well be carrying weapons.

Traffic on the freeway (24) looked like the normal level of congestion as of 7:50 AM. Maybe people are staying home to avoid significant delays?

Her Blog is at:

Make BART FREE? When Money's Fly out of Big Daddy's, skateboard womens ass!

Sounds like it was a typical free fare day on bart. You may recall that last year in June, or was it July?, that there were three Spare the Air Days in a row. Every low life in the bay area was on bart going somewhere to cause trouble. A lot of the trouble they caused was on the bart trains. Strong arm robberies, intimidation, fights, armed robberies (not the same thing as strong arm robberies), drug deals, vandalism, general rowdiness and a royal pain in the butt. Most of the ill behaved hoodlums were teenagers from the "hood". They don't go to school, they don't have parents who give a damn about where they are or what they're doing, they don't have jobs and the only money they have is what they can steal from others or earn by selling drugs or their own bodies.

If the free rides continue until the freeway is rebuilt, the economy of the entire bay area will suffer noticably. Hard working people will stay home from work and let the low lifes have the trains.

Took BART to SF for my usual class. Looks like all the kids decided to ditch school and head on BART. Also it was pretty damn crowded. At El Cerrito I was sitting on the bench and encountered an african-american listening to her music way too loud and just jamming her head off and looking at me on the side. Shouldn't she be in school? I forgot majority of young people dont care about the future...

"... and let the low lifes have the trains."

Sure, if there is no BART police presence to maintain order.

Shrapnel's picture

BART Police Officers were out in force today... but sadly not enough to intervene on a situation even I would call brazen.

This evening on a Richmond-bound train, several (seven or eight) young black males were on the train. As the train left Lake Merritt for 12th Street, the youths went to the front of the train making all sorts of noise. Moments later, they came running to the back of the train hollering something to the effect of "Go to the back of the train so you don't get shot!"

Many commuters were obviously alarmed. No idea what happened to them: if they were caught, etc. as I heard about this second hand and was not on duty at the time.

Was anyone on this train? Can they provide any other info?

waiting with bated breath for Bernard Goetz.

Kids said people would get shot? Did you call the T/O or BART police? Of course not because it probably didn't even happen.

The worst experience I had with Spare the Air was two white, drunk, construction workers who cut in front of other people lined up and when one man, who was with his son protested, they threatened to kick his ass, right in front of his kid. I called the station agent who didn't care, honestly wasn't interested. This was at Civic Center.

My ride home last night was uneventful and the train was about as crowded as normal. I think some of the stories here are just an excuse to vent a lot of racist bullshit. There weren't even any kids hanging out at 12th Street for a change.

An interesting post on Craigslist:
BART Feral Retard activity, gun included

Reply to:
Date: 2007-04-30, 12:38PM PDT

Did anyone else experience the feral retard activity on a bart platform this morning at about 10 am? A bunch of tard thugs yelling gang affiliation attacked an associated feral retard, stole his shoe and actually pushed him into the train track well, where he lost his second shoe. Feral retard victim then pulled himself out of the train well and ran out of the station wielding a gun and yelling something about "cap in yo ass".

To all of you who are feral retards - Note: some of us are on the trains because we're going to a J.O.B. Some of our J.O.B.s directly affect YOUR quality of life. We are educators and technology workers who work on things like reading aids so your feral relatives can hopefully live more productive happy lives. It really PISSES ME OFF that I could be hit and killed by one of your useless worthless pea brained stupid jackass moronic retarded shit-for-brains idiot sack-of-worthless-crap soul-less heartless thoughtless morals-devoid ethically empty wastes-of-a-human-potential's random weapon's firings when I'm just trying to get to my J.O.B. where I do something productive and constructive for others.


There are PLENTY of people out there, resources, agencies, groups, and support for you to do something GOOD with your lives. It is only your WILL TO BE SHIT that keeps you doing stupid asinine retarded stuff like this morning. It's YOUR CHOICE to be pieces of shit, got it? Nobody else's choice but yours.

Location: East Bay
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Did you thoroughly read the post?? It was written by a BART POLICE OFFICER who wasn't on duty but, I absolutely have no doubt, would have acted quickly and decisively if (s)he'd been on that train or called in for the incident. Beside that point, the poster did say (s)he heard it second hand. Comprehend what you read before stirring the pot.

I do not think, that this person read the post. I know her persnally, and for one she is not racist because, she is a minority herself. And she is also a lady. I heard about the incident from another Station Agent and, the kids, not screaming that they would get shot on the train itself, per say, but the youths were on the train, with some mention of violence. No one was injured. I believe that this BART Police Officer would, if she was there acted quickly. As would and should all police. It is why cops ride free. All cops, not just BART Police.

That's right. There's no way a minority could ever be a racist.

she is not. shes quiet and good at her job!

yea, but you know who IS the N-word when his buddy calls him it and he doesn't flinch.

Racism excits because people need excuses. There are thugs in every nationallity, color , race and creed. Thrash is thrash!

You MUST be a product of Oakland schools. You can't even spell! As long as you are willing to remain ignorant, you will be considered thrash (sic). If you want to continue using a public forum, at least keep a dictionary handy. Stereotypes are perpetuated by those who continue to act in a stereotypical manner. To break that down to the fourth grade education level: if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck - IT'S A F'ING DUCK.

Lets all be adults and tell it like it is, not the social studies and PC Police version. These kids have no one to look up too except for fake gold-tooth wearing idiots who claim to be "down" with the hood and the kids that are in it. What you see is kids with no fathers and probably no mothers who discipline them, and what is really scary is that they are afraid of nothing.

While the fake asshole community leaders run their mouths, these kids need help. They don't need more money thrown at them. They need two parents, not the single overworked or welfare mom. If you say black men sleep with the mothers for the sake of their vanity, your a racist. But look at the reality in the previous statement; 70% of these kids are born to single mothers. No lies, no bullshit. They are doomed from the get-go. This needs to end. Take responsibility for you children..dammit.

How can you discipline them if they don't care? I saw the same kids hanging around and running up and down the trains. Do they really think it's cool that people are afraid of them? Or are they really that bad? Without parental involvement and some form of responsibility on the parents and siblings/family members, they will continue the feral behavior and wind up a statistic. Which isn't a Liberal/Conservative problem, it's universal.

Blame it on their music rap and hip-hop. It influences violence like 50 cent for example. All they rap is about cars the have, how rich they are, how many hoes they can pick up, and about their gold-teeth.

I was on the train with some co-workers going to lunch that day. We heard a weird sort of shaking/rattling noise which we heard over the noise of the train. We looked back to see some kid shaking his bottle of spray paint to get it all mixed up while he was on the train. He got off a stop or two later.

Of course, it's not illegal to have a can of spray paint or shake it up, but it didn't take much of a guess about its soon intended use.

I don't know about you, but I don't buy spray paint for craft projects and then take it out of the bag and shake it up on the BART train to get it ready for immediate use.

Though it could've been worse than this, I'm illustrating the kind of crap that is amplified 10 times on free days. Though ridership increases on the free days, I'm not convinced that it really helps spare the air (on those days) since the normal riders either do the same as usual or find alternate ways to get around to avoid dealing with the extra riffraff on transit. I think the ridership mostly goes up because people take extra trips they normally wouldn't take. Is encouraging extra trips from people who wouldn't take them otherwise really sparing the air? Doubtful.

boopiejones's picture

I witnessed some punk "gangsta" type walk from end to end of an evening commute train, purposely bumping each person as he passed. and people wonder why these type of a$$holes kill each other out on the streets...

i'm just glad people like this don't have enough money to ride bart on a regular basis. and big daddy wants to make bart free - ha!

You've got to be kidding. Fares are not likely to discourage people like this who probably don't pay fares in the first place. This is an issue about BART police presence and enforcement which is only made more obvious by no-fare days. High fares only hurt the law-abiding who work for a living, the fare-evading low-lifes almost certainly don't care what the fares are. Get real.

boopiejones's picture

why is the lack of bart police presence "more obvious" on free days? because all the low lifes are on the train those days and the police become outnumbered!!!

i guarantee you that the punk-ass seanjohn wearing gangsta WOULD NOT have been on the train if it weren't free. I ride the same train every day and have never seen this guy before. you think it is a coincidence that he happened to get on my train on that free day? heck no. he (and a bunch of other punks) got on only because it was free.

yes, there are low-life fare evaders every day, but the free days just open up the flood gates for every moron to get on the train. they have nothing better to do. the only way you could ever stop that kind of stuff from happening on a free day would be to put a cop in every car.

on a side note, i heard at least 10 very loud cell phone conversations on the free day consisting of: "shit bitch, i'z on bart homie. oh hell yeah, it free today homie. fo sho'. holla back yo." once again, coincidence?

Shrapnel's picture

Coincidence? Doubtful.

We were overwhelmed. All the hood-trash comes out on free days.

Oh, shiznit yo! Free BART! Oh hell yeah, homie! Let's go act a'fool up on tha BART playa!

if he was under 18 it was a crime.

To all the people racist people out there. Please drop dead soon! I hope you all die a miserable suffering type of death. Yes, you can be a minority and be racist. We don't need to hear the race of the people that caused problems on BART. So much for the Bay Area being so progressive and liberal.

Liberals are the bay areas problem.

You got that right!

It was almost as crowded as the spare-the-air days, but not nearly as violent! The kids were the only problem on the Dublin to SF line.

However, for anyone who doesn't remember. The woman stabbed on the train that arrived at MacArthur, on the last spare-the-air day, was an African American business woman, and she was stabbed by a gang of African American teen girls.

This is not a race issue. It is a class issue. Those who do not have anything, will lash out and attack those who have more regardless of race. It's the way of Oakland, and those who live there. About a month ago, I actually heard a kid on Bart say, "If you ain' strong enough to keep it, you don' get to have it." He was taking something from one of his own friends. I'm sure he eventually gave it back, but they were trying to intimidate the passengers by "playing to the audience (the rest of the Bart passengers)."

If Bart management actually reads this stuff: DO NOT MAKE BART FREE EVER AGAIN. [Just reduce the fares for the commuters :)]

last years' 'experiment,' with free rides the whole day failed miserably. in previous years, the Spare The Air days was handled by bart was free in the AM, pay in the PM.

believe me, bart mgmt. is well aware of the miscreant problem, and will do what it can to prevent it this year. hopefully by going back to the free in the AM, pay in the PM again.

to redefine, it failed in regard that ridership went waay beyond anything defined by spare the air; it was a free for all. and that is not the point or purpose of spare the air.

The free a.m., pay p.m. doesn't sound like a bad idea. Since you'd only be doing it one direction instead of two, maybe BART could do it for 6 days instead of 3.

The "problem" could best be addressed by more BART police who are visible and actually make appropriate arrests. This presence creates a no-tolerance atmosphere and people do get the message when they see that misbehavior is not tolerated. When there are no apparent consequences the low-lifes will just see what they can get away with. With more police presence and enforcement everyone can feel safer and the issue of fares becomes less important.

one more time it comes down to BART Police support. Time for BART to step up to the plate and get some more officers. They owe it their patrons to reasonably protect their safety and property. BART Police let people loiter in the lots so they see you leave your car and they just break into it because they know you won't be back for hours. They are almost non-existent on the trains and ifyou call the T.O., the person will be gone by the time an officer catches up to the train. It is a support system that definitely is not working and BART needs to fix it. These kids are something else too. They get off on intimidating the passengers. They have the dirtiests mouths and I thought I've heard it all. I'm also tired of the drunks puking all over the brand new cars. BART DO SOMETHING. You don't even have to have actual police officers patrol the lots. All lots should be patrolled the entire time BART is open and BART sucks for not doing something about all of this already. All I saw at my BART station after the last spare the air day, was graffiti and more people getting their cars broken into and trash on BART.

Shrapnel's picture

BART Police are understaffed and underfunded. We've already established that.

But let me be clear... Free BART does not automatically bring the ghetto trash into the system. Most of the time, they're already there... In the form of fare evaders. Free BART just encourages them to come to the open and be more bold with their shenanigans.

BART Police response time is fair if called by a TO or Station Agent, IF you are close to a division. But sometimes, even that can take time.

Recently a Station Agent needed assistance at Lake Merritt. (I was talking to her two days after this happened) an Officer took TEN MINUTES to walk the 150 feet or so from BPD Headquarters to the Agent's booth. That is unacceptable.

Anywho, point is that BART charging fares or not, there will always be some rif-raff on trains. I think AC Transit has it worse off, however, when the bus is free.

But remember... don't expect BART Police to do something about it AFTER THE FACT by bitching about it anonymously hours or days after it has happened. Look, report, respond. If something is occuring, note the location, notify a Station Agent or other BART employee, police Officer, or dial 911 or 510-464-7000 (877-679-7000).

The only way we can get these stupid kids is if people step up and help us. We try to proactivly police, but that only works to a point. I'd say 20% of the arrests I make are of crimes that I observe. The other 80% occur when a patron or employee takes the time to notify us.

Or we could just turn BART into a police state...

This is such a joke. All BART Police want to do is antagonize and argue with you most of the time if something has happened. They won't even come and look at your car if it has been vandalized or broken into. There are a few exceptions to that statement in the form of good BART officers and it is unfortunate that they are the exceptions. Every time BART police the come on the train the last several months, they always say to the T.O, "we looked but couldn't find" after holding up the train for at least 10 minutes while they get there and search. They are useless! The system of security is useless. They need to be already on the trains and at every single station, no IFs ANDs or BUTs. The situation at BART is only going to worsen, not improve because people keep breeding their ghetto trash and not raising their kids and then you have the regular drug addict convicts and homeless.

I am curious to a comparison, if anyone has the data (I don't).

NYC Subway vs. bart.

it's known that bart covers more square miles, overall, than does the nyc system, but also true that the sheer population versus ridership in NY is wholly higher there. How many transit police does the NY subway have?

-would be interesting to know, and cross reference the numbers /per rider /per population /per train, ad infinitum.

Years back, NYC police started at the lowest common denominator. That is, here, all of the police would start ticketing graffiti, fare evading, eating on trains, ie: all of the rules would be strongly enforced. PPID, we know there are not enough resources to handle that task here; how did NYC accommodate this?

Not to cop-out on responsibility, but every other bart employee, who is seen in public, knows what the rules are, yet also knows that there is zero support for us in enforcing the rules, and if we *do* interject ourselves into a situation, we're on our own... A lot of us discover this the hard way, and some have been disciplined for such.

Thus, the three brass monkeys rule tends to overtake our positions:
hear no evil,
see no evil,
speak no evil.

Our job/function is ______________; not telling people not to fare evade/ eat on the train/ smoke/ ride bicycles on the platform/ etc.

note: I am not referring to the station agent position.

NYC Transit Police are a bureau within the NYPD
This site also says there were about 4500 members (uniformed and civilian) before the merge into the NYPD with 468 stations and 842 miles of track running 24/7/365.
This was Guiliani's successful idea, as was his new approach to crime as you noted, which began in 1995. His theory was that small criminals grow up to be big criminals. Essentially, troubled, abused, abandoned kids who commit small crimes, like graffiti, will escalate over the years into fullblown dangerous criminals and then clog our prisons after terrorizing our society. He advocated early intervention, accomplished by redirecting focus away from "big crimes" like murder - which occupies huge man hours for negligible results/effect and reapplying those man hours to this early intervention plan. This encourages the distribution of juvenile delinquents before they throw their lives away and become the murders previously debilitating the system. It was about getting support services to troubled teens essentially and breaking the cycle. This may include foster care, scared straight, drug rehab, vocational training, educational tutoring, counseling, etc.

BART Police do very little anymore to curb fare evasion, or any minor crime these days.

In the past they had undercover teams that would target evasion, food/drink, discount and transfer misuse etc.

IF there is an officer around, they catch and release. And many of the under 18 crowd know this, and waive their one finger at the agent.

Right, because there was/is no meaningful enforcement presence the losers know this and do what they can get away with. NYC had the right idea, BART doesn't, and law-abiding BART patrons will suffer accordingly. Thanks, BART.

What are you talking about? New York has MANY more miles of track than BART.

boopiejones's picture

a bart with no name said bart covers more "square miles," not miles of track.

if you traveled from one corner of the bart system to the opposite corner, you would go about three times as far as you would on the ny subway.

in other words, if you transplanted the ny subway system directly into the bay area using oakland as the center, the track would stop around lafayette. yet bart stretches all the way to pittsburg/gun point - more square miles.

The number of square miles covered by a system is meaningless. The number of stations and the mileage of the tracks between them is where police service needs to be provided. A station is a station and a mile of track is a mile of track. The only place square miles means something is in the bizarro world of BART where BART police have to commute by car between stations to respond to calls.

boopiejones's picture

first of all, i never said that square miles were meaningful in this arguement, but your assertion that "The only place square miles means something is in the bizarro world of BART where BART police have to commute by car between stations to respond to calls" is incorrect.

how about a situation where the entire system (or a major artery) is shut down?

there are many reasons why police would need their cars. that is why they call them "police cars," duh ;)

Hmm, with that impeccable logic I could say "yeah, and that's why BART calls them TRAINS, duh!"

They're supposed to take you places that are meaningful and helpful, in this case to the enforcement of safety. What exactly does a BART pig sitting in his car in the parking lot accomplish to further the goal of protecting the public from violence?

I'm guessing "protecting the public from violence" doesn't even make it into their job description.

That's all we really care about, isn't it? We don't really give a flying fuck about the poor shmuck who can't afford a BART ticket or the slob trying to steal a bite on his hourlong commute, do we?

Don't we really only care about not getting raped, mugged, stabbed or jumped while we're trying to get where we're going?

Can somebody please provide the actual numbers of "crimes" broken down into categories that BART police have solved this year? How many assailants were arrested? How many muggers/thieves/pickpockets were nabbed? How many fights and attacks were stopped? Can I please see some numbers to corroborate this "high crime on BART problem" that people seem to think is there coupled with some actual facts about how effective BART is at addressing public safety? How many such attacks or robberies were reported without succesful resolution - in other words BART pigs did nothing?

As for your "many reasons why police would need their cars" statement Boopie, I don't see it. If they were on the trains, they would never need to "get" to the scene of a crime because they would already "be" there.

As for your presumed "worst case scenario" of a "situation where the entire system (or a major artery) is shut down?" Who cares? What the fuck are BART pigs gonna do in a system shutdown? Drink coffee and hit on station agents? They're sure as hell not gonna fix the fucking train or the track! Is there gonna be some kind of system wide crime spree that will erupt because the train/system/artery breaks down?

Sure, leave them a couple cars and they can shuttle their buddies to the scene of such a breakdown, because watching a wall of dark blue, overpaid public servants always makes me feel better in such a situation.

Personally I'd rather see some motherfucker in overalls with some greasy hands in your scenario.

And once again, if they were on the trains and in the stations, they'd already "be" there, not in need of a ride in a luxury sedan to "there" wherever this mythological "there" you refer to is that needs such urgent attention from BART police.

BART is a train system you recall. There ain't no part of BART that's "on the other side of town" or "out in the boonies." So I'm not particularly impressed by your argument or your example.

Interesting argument about the "importance" of square mileage of track instead of track miles and number of stations, which would seem to be of infinitely more importance to me while I'm riding the BART TRAIN system.

I can only imagine that square mileage becomes important when BART tries to puff itself up to look bigger then it is when it comes time for requesting raises systemwide, applying for a loan based on the system's value and property holdings, or apologizing for woefully poor/inadequate service or bumping the fares up again, or complaining that 40 million dollars isn't enough for 170 cops to feed their families with and that's an excuse for why they do such a piss poor job.

Otherwise the only mileage I care about when I'm overpaying for riding a train is TRACK MILEAGE Boopie Baby!

boopiejones's picture

"As for your "many reasons why police would need their cars" statement Boopie, I don't see it. If they were on the trains, they would never need to "get" to the scene of a crime because they would already "be" there."

What? crimes only happen in trains? never in stations or parking lots? and lets just assume that a criminal DOES get nabbed - last time i checked, there was no jail at bart. how do they transport criminals?

"As for your presumed "worst case scenario" of a "situation where the entire system (or a major artery) is shut down?" Who cares? What the fuck are BART pigs gonna do in a system shutdown? Drink coffee and hit on station agents? They're sure as hell not gonna fix the fucking train or the track! Is there gonna be some kind of system wide crime spree that will erupt because the train/system/artery breaks down?"

what if a "system wide crime spree" is the REASON for the shutdown - ever heard of terrorism?

"Otherwise the only mileage I care about when I'm overpaying for riding a train is TRACK MILEAGE Boopie Baby!"

you just haphazardly proved my point. what you seem to fail to realize as far as "track mileage" goes is that it is DIRECTLY related to square milage of the system as far as YOUR COMMUTE is concerned. unless you are a transient "riding the rails," the average person commutes over MORE MILES OF TRACK ON BART than on the NY subway. Yes, NY has more total miles of track, but who actually USES more track, a bart rider or a ny rider? example: if you travel from pittsburg/baypoint to SF, you will have traveled on twice as much track as someone that goes from the end of one line to the other end in NY. now if you go from pitt to sfo...

My vision for better BART police effectiveness calls for them to be stationed at every station/parking lot anyway. They should be "patrolling" with assistance from the 100+ civilian staff who should be manning those hundreds of surveillance cameras. As I said, some vehicles could be maintained for "perp transport."

With a cop at every station and 2 more just minutes away on the next trains and a few in cars strategically placed coupled with the substantial interagency overlap I think they can handle a rapist or a purse snatching. They do carry guns after all.

What the hell would BART police, in their self insisted upon inadequacy do in a terrorist situation? Really, give me a great example of how yet more heavily armed blue uniforms would be helpful in a particular situation you envision? Wouldn't local SWAT and Antiterrorism units and Homeland Security be on hand immediately anyway? What are you saying? If the terrorists hijack a full 10 car train in the transbay tube, then more BART cops would be helpful somehow? How exactly? They would probably take 15-30 minutes to even GET THERE in the first place! Now if there were an officer ON the train, then at least there'd be one of these fearless, bullet catching heroes you so extol PRESENT at the scene instead of "en route!"

I'm still not sure what point you're trying to make with your square vs. track mileage discussion. I was being a little flip. I think perhaps you also proved MY point haphazardly. With so much square mileage, BART cops in cars serve little purpose, since they will always be a great distance from a train or station, whereas my suggestion theoretically puts one at every station and on every train, hence, always on scene.

TreoBART's picture

I think you should take a ride with a BART cop during rush hour sometime. In the front seat, not the back. Any citizen can request to ride with a police officer to see what they do, though you would need to do three things to not end up on the sidewalk (or in the back) halfway through:

1. Have a clean enough past they won't be afraid you're gonna go nuts on them

2. Not do anything stupidly illegal like bring your gun with you

3. Have way more tact than you do here, since the officer would need to do his job despite having a 'concerned citizen' in the car.

Tell them it's for a research paper on police coverage on public transit. Hell, do the paper on it, you seem to have opinions and sources to back it up. I'd read it.

Just don't mention you're BigDaddy from BartRage, at least not right away :-)

boopiejones's picture

on the square vs. track mileage point, you said you only care about track mileage when "overpaying" for transit. i'd argue that the average fare on bart is cheaper per track mile traveled than on the ny subway.

for a baseline, lets take the most expensive end of line commute into the city, pitt to montgomery. $5.30 for about 40 miles or $0.13/mile. compare that to an end of line to NYC run on the ny subway - breezy point to wall street - about 15 miles for $2 or, (drumroll please) THIRTEEN CENTS!!!

the shorter your commute, the more expensive each system becomes. however, bart becomes cheaper than the new york subway pretty quickly... take a station half way between the end of the line and SF, as this will probably be fairly indicative of the average price paid per mile per commuter - lafayette to montgomery - $4 for 21 miles or $.019/mile vs 7.5 miles for $2 on NY subway - $0.27/mile - BART IS CHEAPER PER MILE OF TRACK TRAVELED THAN THE NEW YORK SUBWAY.

and by the way, i disagree that your "vision" for bart PD is to post an officer at every station/parking lot and one in every train. i seem to recall you calling for an outright slashing of the police force a few months back...

Thanks for the post; I hadn't thought about the actual figures myself. Sometimes it feels like comparing transit systems is comparing apples and oranges—different train frequencies, stop locations, quality of service, and such—but the point stands.

I hope the post spreads out to all of our forum regulars who vigilantly avoid these Weapons of Math Instruction.

Shrapnel's picture

Wouldn't local SWAT and Antiterrorism units and Homeland Security be on hand immediately anyway?

BART maintains a SWAT and Counterterror response team that is the envy of the Bay Area. BART's SWAT Officers are trained in hand-to-hand combat, storming trains, and dealing with extreme violence within the tight confines of a train. Homeland Security, eh? BART has a Homeland Security liaison, but that's about where it ends (VIPR notwithstanding). The closest federal assistance would likley come from the FPS/DHS who are stationerd at the Oakland federal building.

Your call for at least one Officer in every station and at least one Officer on every train - believe me, I'm smiling right now - would, in fact, create the need for more Officers.

Yeah, that's right.

43 Stations (x2 shifts. x2 rotations. +1 auxiliary ... hell, we can, for the sake of continuity, I'll axe the night shift, which is a whole different thing entirely) That right there gives us.............. drumroll please............. 172 Officers. And that's just for the stations.

Multiply that by the the Officers that are in their "unnecessary" squad cars and (with all shifts) you're already well over 200.

Now, for the Officers on the trains. Let's be conservative and say there are 20 trains on average in the system at any given time. All well and good, eh? Well, multiply that by two for shift rotation. You've now got close to 250 officers.

CSA's to write tickets and provide additional visual deterrent. Communications dispatchers. Asset & Revenue Protection Officers. Administrative staff.

Wow! That brings us to 346 personnel, well up from the less-than-300 we have now.

Kinda defeats the point of "cutting down" on cops, huh?

Oh well. You've been beat at your own game.

Chyea, I did.

Shrapnel's picture

I said 346 personnel. That should have been 346 total personnel. 251 sworn. (Compare with the budgeted 201 right now. Just pointing out - we don't have all the Officers we're budgeted for... the Department is trying to hire others to fill the current vacancies.)

And I didn't factor in the additional non-sworn personnel that would go along with additional Officers. I just used current levels. Obviously we'd need more non-sworn (admin, communications, etc.) to go along with additional Officers.

Thus, my estimate of 346 is obviously far below.

Sorry for the inaccuracy.

Don't worry PP. I've got your back on the math as always, since I usually find it to be extremely impaired.

Each officer works a 10 hour shift as you’ve said before. I’m not sure if that’s a 9 hour shift with an hour unpaid break, like every other Californian or if its an 11 hour shift minus an hour break. Regardless, this will essentially cover all BART property during working hours. If each officer works 40 hours per week then we need 2 per station and then we’ll need 1.75 “rotations” not 2. The difference is minimal here, but yields 161.25. I’m not sure how many “auxiliaries” you need. I’m guessing one for each shift, so I guess that’s 4 per week. So now we’re in the neighborhood of 165 sworn officers. So for once your math doesn’t appear to be deep in left field, although 7 officers is not an insubstantial number and neither is their $50K/yr each.

Now we have 165 officers manning every station full time. Let’s continue and apply that same formula to say 20 trains in the system during peak hours. So we need 2 shifts per day, 1.75 “rotations” per week, so 20 times 3.75 equals 75 more officers. So, 240 total plus say another 40 to man 10 squad cars per week. Okay, so we’re at around 280, so once again I pretty much agree with your math for a change. You’d probably need around 120 support personnel too to maintain your current ratio, so 400.

Now let’s explore the cruiser issue, since it directly connects with funding, effectiveness and numbers. I can’t find how much a cop car costs. It seems to range greatly from 30-50K and up dramatically from there depending on what it’s equipped with. I also can’t find any mention of how many cars BART police have. Perhaps if you are actually a BART cop then you could provide numbers. I’m gonna conservatively guess the number around 60. At 50K that’s $3 million worth of rolling metal. This is a recurring cost! Those cars probably get replaced every 3 years or so I’m guessing, right? So there’s a million bucks a year! Of course this does not include fuel and maintenance, assuredly a separate army in itself to keep those badly abused vehicles running smoothly. Let’s see, average mechanics make $50-$100/hour…and these are civil servant, government mechanics… These cars run hard with cranking A/C 24/7/365. Big block V8s with all kinds of extra power. Maybe on a good day they get 10mpg. Probably closer to half that, since they’re always idling, which uses more gas. Not including the obvious environmental damage inflicted, I think I’d comfortable estimate that huge gas tank needs to be filled once, if not twice a day and probably takes high octane gas. Please feel free to jump in with facts anyone as I’m conjecturing fairly wildly at this point. At $3/gallon very conservatively I’m guessing each car drinks at least $100/day. That’s three quarters of a full year’s cop salary each year.
My point, if I may keep returning to it, is that riders don’t want BART cops wasting our money riding around in luxury. We want them riding around with us!

In the ideal 100% coverage scenario discussed, it is really 100% inaccurate fantasy. The reality is that for $40 million per year, BART police are almost NEVER visible at all! All those fancy, expensive surveillance cameras seem unused and poorly placed. The only time I ever see BART pigs is walking the platform behind the last train, presumably to clear the platform and occasionally trying to chat up a station agent in town or walking the train with a K9 once in a blue moon. So this amounts to about one ten thousandth of the time I spend on BART, or .01% of the time. Hence the entire discussion above about increasing by 50 or 75% the BART police force was just to prove what an endlessly farcical “need” the police always pretend they have. Basically they want to have and use millions of dollars worth of fancy equipment to deal with a scenario that will likely never occur, all of which has to be maintained and updated regularly, but then they don’t even do their fucking job.

Increase their budget to 70 million. Increase their size by 75%. 175% of zero is still zero folks! Okay, 175% of .01% is .0175%. Big fucking deal. Maybe the reason they don’t do their job and are never around is so that they can constantly complain about how understaffed, underpaid and overworked they are and hence demand more members of the gang and higher pay. My fantasy scenario is complete overkill. Really, if you had just one officer on each train, they could get off and walk around each station at each stop and actually PATROL and prevent crime from spotting obvious trouble areas, be they a group of homeless, drug use, inebriated folk, erratic behavior, whatever. There could be plenty of overlap as trains come and go. In other words, if the “crime prevention” system were reformed 75 cops would be more than enough and save tens of millions of dollars on more cops, unmanned surveillance cameras and gas chugging luxury sedans.

“BART maintains a SWAT and Counterterror response team that is the envy of the Bay Area.”
No doubt! They collect a fat paycheck and never have to do anything!

“The closest federal assistance would likely come from the FPS/DHS who are stationed at the Oakland federal building” – in other words, right next to the Transbay Tube?

I don’t know, or particularly care, what the hell a CSA is. Send the dispatchers home and have all incoming calls routed directly onto the air and have officers actually talk to one another. Calls could be routed automatically to nearest cell towers and hence reach all in immediate area directly. It might go like this:
ring, ring “hello, you’re being assaulted by a man with a knife at Dublin? Harry, you there? Yeah, I’m here, where are you ma’am? Next to the elevator, be right there. Who else is nearby? Sam and Tom en route, great, help out Harry ASAP. Help is on the way ma’am, do you need an ambulance? Etc.” Is this really so fucking hard? You guys talk to each other all day. Too bad it’s never about helping the public.

“Asset & Revenue Protection Officers. Administrative staff” Asset and Revenue Protection, what the hell is that? You mean guarding the money? Have the money collectors carry guns, next! Administrative staff, you mean middle management? Isn’t that why medical care is completely unaffordable these days? Oh wait, that’s malpractice insurance.

I’m intimately familiar with the system. I think everyone should experience it, then the public outrage over wasted tax dollars and “government” inefficiency and petty bureaucratic middle managers within the system who do NOTHING would finally bubble over and the public would revolt.

And PP, no personal disrespect intended. This is NOT a game.