On Monday, BART installed new monitors at Civic Center BART station showing riders outside of the fare gates when trains will arrive, and also a live feed of the platform below.
Via Twitter, the transit agency told riders that the screens would allow them to check “what the platform situation is” before entering the gates and called the installations a “friendly reminder we have working cameras all over the place and it [the station] is monitored.”
In a follow-up message, BART responded to comments about drug use in the system, saying that violators “come right back” after arrest and suggested that large-scale social reform was needed to fix the problem.
We are working with SFPD on this but even when you make an arrest they come right back. We need cities and counties to step up with more resources to tackle the opioid crisis.— SFBART (@SFBART) August 21, 2018
Although there was no specific mention of it, the change was evidently a nod to BART General Manager Grace Crunican’s campaign to beef up BART security in the wake of a rash of homicides committed on trains and platforms.
Crunican wants to put more cops at BART locales and to institute a new computer security system that would track riders in the system in real time.
At an August 9 hearing, BART’s Board of Directors expressed ambivalence about the plan, with board members saying they wanted to do more to make riders feel safe but also that they’re sympathetic to public complaints about privacy violations and the collateral risks of security measures themselves.
In the meantime, Crunican has already implemented security changes she does not need to defer to the board for, including extending BART cops’ work week.
The station screens are one more addition to appear responsive to safety concerns, though for now they’re present only at the one station.
On the other hand, giving riders a heads up about arrival and departures outside of the fare gates is a common sense consideration that BART should have made standard decades ago anyway.
New at Civic Center. Now you can easily see before the fare gates when your train is coming AND a surveillance feed showing what the platform situation is. It’s also a friendly reminder we have working cameras all over the place and it is monitored. pic.twitter.com/7pZcjAoh4D— SFBART (@SFBART) August 20, 2018