VIDEO: “Fare cheats” cost BART nearly $25 million a year, but agency cannot charge minors with fare evasion


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — BART is trying to crack down on people who do not pay for their ticket, and these “fare cheats” cost the system almost $25 million a year.

But, if you are under 18 years old, getting in criminal trouble for not paying will not happen–BART cannot cite minors for evading fare.

At the Glen Park Station, KRON4 saw a handful of people pass through the fare gates without paying. But BART police can’t do anything to those cheats who are under 18 years old because that is against the law.

The fare evaders sneak out, usually through the emergency swinging door while other riders pay their fair share to ride BART.

Sixteen-year-old Aleigha Beavan-Szabo sees kids her age skip out on paying–often.

“If you just don’t have $2 to pay for BART, it is not really something you want to go to jail for,” Beavan-Szabo said. “Sometimes it is just out of necessity, and you have to get someplace and you just don’t have the money.”

BART police officers have been directed by the chief not to arrest or cite kids under 18 years old for not buying a ticket. This follows a new law which went into effect in January for all public transportation systems in the state.

SB 882 is meant to prevent minors from getting a criminal record full of misdemeanors.

BART riders KRON4 spoke with somewhat agreed with it.

The law does not mean young offenders get off free. BART cannot let them in or kick them out if they don’t have a ticket.

And BART is looking into other punishments like community service.

For Aleigha, she pays her ticket and would like to see the kids who don’t be held accountable in some way.

“I think that would be better and more serving to the community than paying a fine or going to jail,” Beavan-Szabo said.

MUNI will not call the police on fare cheats under 18 years old. Instead, it gives them an administrative ticket for about $60.

So it is not criminal, avoiding court costs and no points on the kids’ records.



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