Police officers monitor Civic Center station where rampant drug use has occurred.

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BART Considers $200-Million Plan To Thwart Fare Evaders

Holly Quan
August 20, 2018 - 9:52 am

Reeling from a string of violent attacks inside BART stations, the system's general manager is considering replacing the current fare gates with barriers that would make it tougher for evaders to slip on board. 

Under the plan, the system's 600 fare gates would be replaced with stronger models that can't be pried apart, according to General Manager Grace Crunican.

Such changes could reduce petty crimes like panhandling and violent incidents such as the alleged stabbing death of Nia Wilson by a suspect who'd been previously busted for not buying a ticket. Wilson's family has sued BART, alleging that the transit system should have done more to insure Wilson's safety. 

The plan laid out by Crunican would cost as much as $200 million. 

Right now, fare inspectors have been hired to patrol stations and issue fines. But iolators rarely pay those fines. 

Some riders at the West Oakland station believe it would be helpful if station agents more assertively confronted cheats and troublemakers. 

"Some of them just need to do their job altogether," one woman said to KCBS Radio. "They just sit there and let people do whatever they want to do."

BART, meantime, is seeing a drop in evening and weekend ridership. KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier wrote in his column Monday that non-commute time ridership has gone down 12 percent over the last two years. That drop in ticket-buyng riders has cost the system $42 million. 

There are reportedly two reasons that people are shunning BART. One is the popularity of ride-hail services like Uber and Lyft. The other is fear for their own personal safety. 

Written by: Diana Shook.