Fare Evasion Prevention
FARE EVASION PREVENTION
Fare evasion costs BART between an estimated $15 million and $25 million each year. This is lost revenue that cannot be reinvested into improvements to the system for all riders. We are stepping up our efforts to prevent fare evasion through infrastructure changes such as installing higher barriers and bringing elevators into the paid area. BART’s Board has also approved a Proof of Payment ordinance that involves unarmed community service officers conducting fare inspections in the paid areas of our system.
NEW FARE GATE STUDY
The General Manager is accelerating a study into whether BART should replace its fare gates.
Concerns about fare evasion have increased calls for new gates but there is no simple solution. The price tag to replace the system’s 600 fare gates is $150-200 million and funding has not yet been identified. In Winter 2018, BART retrofitted existing fare gates at the north end of the Embarcadero Station, as well as at the Pittsburg Center and Antioch Stations. The modifications increase the air pressure used to cinch the barrier closed, which increases the effort needed to force the barrier open. BART is procuring the parts to implement the retrofits system wide. We are also exploring increasing the fare gate height to reduce jumping by adding additional pop up barrier leaves. We will study options that allow flexibility for upgrades. The results of the study will be brought to the board by Spring of 2019.
Station hardening is changing infrastructure other than the fare gates to prevent fare evasion. Upgrades have included heightening barriers around paid areas to five feet, alarming service gates and exit doors and reconfiguring access to elevators to prevent them from being used to avoid fare gates. BART completed a number of these improvements in Fiscal Year 2018.
The Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget devoted $2.7 million to a strategy of enforcement, station hardening and education to limit fare evasion and assure our riders that we value their patronage. That strategy included hiring six Community Service Officers and one Police Administrative Specialist, raising barriers and service gates to a uniform height of 60 inches. It also included eliminating all non-fare gates other than one immediately next to each station agent booth while ensuring fare gates open to provide emergency egress capacity.
The Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget, which began on July 1, 2018, includes $1.2 million for the design and construction of station hardening improvements to make it more difficult for fare evaders to bypass fare gates.
PROOF OF PAYMENT
Proof of payment began on January 1, 2018 with a two-month warning period for first time violators. The grace period ended in early March 2016 when fare inspectors began issuing tickets. Fare inspectors increase police presence on trains and in stations. They deter fare evasion, encourage compliance over time and promote customer equity sending the message that everyone must pay their fair share.
The program started with six Community Resource Officers who received training, particularly on de-escalation and on using fare checking devices. On September 27, 2018, the BART board voted to hire an additional 10 fare inspectors with 8 of them dedicated to nights and weekends. BART Police will work to hire and train the new Community Service Officers who will be deployed in early 2019. Fare inspections progress within paid areas from one person to the next without inspectors skipping anyone, whether in a station or on a train. They have no discretion regarding citations. All interactions are recorded with body worn cameras. Citations are civil with a fine of $55 for juveniles and $75 for adults. Community service is also an option.
BART’s Office of the Independent Police Auditor regularly reviews a random sampling of the fare inspectors' body worn camera footage.