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BART will begin using fare inspectors to catch cheats

Fines start at $75

BART cops on the platform at Civic Center Station.
BART police will begin checking proof of payment in January.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Beginning in January, BART will deploy personnel to trains and stations to catch fare cheaters, as the agency board of directors approved a new proof of payment system at Thursday’s meeting.

According to BART:

The BART Board of Directors tonight adopted two ordinances implementing a proof of payment requirement within BART paid areas and trains. Proof of payment means that a passenger must present a valid ticket or Clipper card anywhere within the paid area of the system upon request by authorized BART personnel.

The laws go into effect January 1, 2018, with a one-month grace period in which warnings will be issued in lieu of citations for first time violations. [...] Beginning January 1st, BART police officers and community service officers will perform proof of payment inspections within the paid area of stations and on board trains.

If caught, fines start at $75 for adults, with an option for community service for those without means to pay.

BART assistant director Paul Oversier testified to the board in April that some 22,000 people sneak on and off the BART system daily, to the tune of as much as $25 million/year about 4.9 percent of the agency’s projected 2017 revenue.

In September, Oversier said that video footage of a single gate at Embarcadero Station recorded roughly 600 people walking in and out of the system without paying.

Fare evasion has always been illegal, of course, but BART has never had a dedicated system for catching cheats.

The new system is almost identical to the one in place on Muni. It often costs SFMTA more to employ fare inspectors than they end up collecting from fare cheats, but BART will utilize BART PD officers for the job.

A BART train at the station. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images