BART dumps seat hog policy

A policy that was to prevent riders from taking up more than one seat during the rush hour commute on BART, but was never enforced, no longer exists.

The BART Board of Directors Thursday voted 5-4 to rescind the so-called “seat hog ordinance” that BART Police officers would have enforced by issuing a $100 citation for first time offenders and $500 for repeated offenders.

Directors Debora Allen, Joel Keller, John McPartland and Thomas Blalock wanted to keep the ordinance in place.

McPartland said expecting people to be polite on BART has “no teeth” and referred to incidents where constituents from his district called the BART Police, but were told the officers were unable to do anything about it:

“Good conduct and politeness just isn’t going to fly.”

Allen said she did encounter a woman Thursday morning with a bag on the seat next to her who removed it as soon as a passenger asked if they could sit down:

“Without a rule, I believe people will not feel comfortable doing that anymore.”

BART board President Rebecca Saltzman, who put forward the motion to rescind the ordinance, said the BART Police Officers Association was not in favor of the ordinance because it would likely target the homeless and possibly cause officers to use additional force.

While the current ordinance no longer exists, directors Keller and Lateefah Simon will work together on a new one-year pilot proposal that would be piloted at the new East Contra Costa BART Extension, which will open for revenue service next year.

The pilot proposal will need approval from the board.