BART Making Strong Moves to Address Crime, Safety and Cleanliness Concerns
BART is making some strong moves to address concerns about crime, safety and cleanliness that many riders say are keeping them away from the system. Earlier this year, BART began deploying police officers to patrol trains and stations. A couple weeks ago, BART announced it is launching an aggressive recruiting campaign to fill 28 police officer vacancies, and after those positions are filled BART plans to expand the force by another 19 officers. That comes in addition to hiring 19 crisis intervention specialists and 9 transit ambassadors, with one more to go in each position.
“We are putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to ensuring the safety of our riders,” said Bob Powers, BART General Manager and Bay Area Council Board member. “In addition to our success adding Crisis Intervention Specialists and Transit Ambassadors, these new sworn BPD officers represent an important investment in the safety and security of the BART system that the Bay Area demands, and we will provide. We know that by filling these vacancies through the duration of 2023, as well as adding additional, highly-trained BPD positions, we will ensure BART is safer and cleaner for all our riders.”
And just this week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on moves by BART to completely retire its older fleet of rail cars and run only new modern cars with configurations that make them safer for riders. BART is also going to start running shorter trains and make scheduling changes that are estimated to save $12 million annually.
“We really want to show the entire region that we’re trying new things with safety in mind,” BART Chief Communications Officer Alicia Trost told the Chronicle. “It’s really a change that’s going to enhance safety because when there are empty trains, it attracts antisocial behavior and targeted harassment crimes. Bad things tend to happen when there’s no one around, and what we’re doing is eliminating that.”
The Bay Area Council has long advocated for a stronger approach and faster action in addressing crime, safety and cleanliness issues and we heartily applaud BART for taking these important steps.