When it came time to go home, BART platforms were packed with many of the thousands who gathered to ring in the New Year and watch the fireworks show. To ensure nothing got unruly afterward, BART strategized differently this year. One way it handled crowd control was by splitting up passengers between different stations, depending what route they were traveling from San Francisco across the East Bay -- it worked well.
"We had an easy time getting people out of San Francisco downtown. The employees stepped up to the plate, the law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area stepped up to the plate -- everybody came together and our customers were great, as they always are, and we had a great New Year's Eve," said BART Chief Spokesperson Linton Johnson.
Across the system, BART also doubled the number of officers for New Years. Transit police worked with several other Bay Area law enforcement agencies, increasing patrols aboard trains and at the stations and parking lots. Police presence was especially heavy this year at Oakland's Fruitvale BART station. BART did not want to have any more tragic events on this one year anniversary since unarmed passenger Oscar Grant was fatally shot by a BART officer, after a fight aboard a train. Passengers noticed the change.
"I didn't expect to see more police. I did see a lot of police, especially here," said Fruitvale BART passenger Paulette Aveau.
"I feel safe every night, you know what I mean. I don't worry about everything. It's just a situation that happened. You have to just keep moving forward," said Fruitvale BART passenger Kelvin Hasley.
A family vigil to remember Oscar Grant will be held at the Fruitvale station, followed by a rally "for justice" in the murder trial being held later this year.