Starting this September, BART passengers taking up more than one train seat may be subject to police questioning, criminal background checks, fines, and even arrest. So reports CBS 5 as BART police share their enforcement plans following the spring passage of the "seat hog" ordinance.
As BART police Chief Kenton Rainey explained to the board yesterday, his officers will first issue warnings, but fines will quickly follow — $100 for a first offense, $200 the next, and $500 each time after that. What's more, anyone — tourists heading to SFO or otherwise — taking up more than one seat during commute hours will be forced to identify themselves to BART police and will be subject to a criminal background check.
Learning the details of how the measure will be enforced, one BART director who voted in favor might be having second thoughts. “I think that’s way beyond the pale,” Gail Murray of Walnut Creek, speaking of BART police plans, told the Chronicle. "If they comply, I don’t see any reason to take some further action,” Murray told CBS 5. “I would like this to be more permissive, at least in the beginning.”
Well, according to BART General Manager Grace Crunican, it doesn't matter what Murray wants at this point as only the full board can direct BART police enforcement strategy.
“It’s going to be applied equally to the person who puts a briefcase on a seat on a crowded train during the commute or a person who puts a gym bag on a seat, or the person who puts a suitcase on a seat, or the person who puts his feet on the seat and goes to sleep,” Rainey said. “We’re going to treat everyone the same.”
Rainey, of course, warned of overreach before the ordinance was passed — promising "more train delays, conflicts with the homeless and possible use of force."
We can't say he didn't warn us.