You can still lounge to your heart's content across an entire row of BART seats — at least for now. The vote on whether or not to impose fines of up to $500 on individuals occupying more than one seat has been postponed to allow the ordinance to be tweaked to specify just who exactly will be subject to the fines.
Despite the assurances of the ordinance's author, BART Director Joel Keller, the Chronicle reports that some on the BART board expressed concerns regarding its language. Specifically, that if passed as is the ordinance will allow BART Police to both target homeless people sleeping on empty cars and your average Joe/Jane napping on a late-night ride home from work. Oh, also, that riders might use this new ordinance as an excuse to harass other riders.
“If we can’t get specific on this being on crowded trains, there’s no way I’ll support this,” KRON 4 quotes BART director Rebecca Saltzman as saying. “I’m concerned about how it will be implemented, not necessarily by our law enforcement but by the public.”
No need to worry about us, BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey told the BART board at yesterday's meeting. “We’re not going to get out there and start arresting people and issuing lots of citations,”. However, Rainey also pointed out some possible unintended consequences of this measure — namely "more train delays, conflicts with the homeless and possible use of force."
Which, honestly, makes a lot of sense. Imagine what impact this enforcement could have on crowded cars stuffed to the gills with stressed-out commuters! The imagination runs wild.
The proposal would make a first offense $100, a second offense $200, and any offenses thereafter within a five-year period $500. A vote on the revised ordinance is tentatively scheduled for the next full BART board meeting on Thursday, March 25.
Previously: BART Director Proposes $500 Fine For Seat Hogs