HAYWARD (KRON) — A BART police officer was battered over the weekend while attempting to cite an alleged fare evader.
This comes after the transit agency begins cracking down on what has become a costly crime. Riders jumping the fare gates to avoid paying their fair share costs BART an estimated $25 million a year.
BART police recently launched a joint crackdown with El Cerrito police at their two stations last week.
On Saturday, a BART officer was battered at Hayward BART while trying to cite an alleged fare evader.
“This subject tried to walk away from the officer,” Deputy BART Police Chief Lance Haight said. “The officer tried to hold on to the man, a struggle ensued, and eventually, the man was taken into custody for an additional crime of resisting arrest.”
Deputy Chief Lance Haight says the officer involved was not injured. He was just doing his job.
“We are trying to get all of our officers to focus on fare evasion,” Haight said. “We are trying to change the culture here, trying to address through enforcement so people will start paying their fare.”
BART riders KRON4 talked to have mixed feelings about increased enforcement.
“Someone sneaking on BART is a major crime,” Fauthour Fal said. “First of all, some people need to get to where they got to get to anyway. They can sometimes. You don’t even have buried inside there.”
“We need a lot better policing around here,” BART rider Takitoa Lautimi said. “A lot more police officers keeping surveillance here. I feel unsafe right now.”
Recently, the transit agency committed to spending $2.5 million to crack down on fare evaders.
Some of that is going to station improvements, including shutting swinging gates and installing new gates with warning signs. The signs will say those who exit when it’s not an emergency are fare evading and will be caught on camera.
At other stations, glass barriers between the free area and the paid area will rise to 60 inches.
BART has begun hiring six community service officers, who in January, will begin enforcing a new policy of checking riders for tickets or clipper cards when they are in the paid areas past the fare gates.
That will go into effect in January.
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