Muni, BART join forces to keep station elevators from being public toilets

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Muni and BART have joined forces to keep people from urinating inside the elevators at two of their San Francisco stations. It has been a major complaint of customers, many of the people in wheelchairs and mothers with strollers.

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Steve Juarez says gatekeeps of sorts will now spend an entire shift inside the elevator at San Francisco's Powell station. That station is one of several MUNI and BART stations used frequently by the homeless.

"Actually what I do is greet them as a customer and I direct them out the doors so that they know the restrooms are just outside to the left or to the right," explained Juarez.

But that's outside the station, where public bathrooms are now part of the city's pit-stop project.

For many, it's been easier to use the elevator as the place to relieve themselves.
"It's been a pretty smelly mess, as you can see, looks what is coming on," said one passenger as he pointed to a homeless man who was trying to get on the elevator with a shopping cart.

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Juarez is one of several attendants who will be working here and at the Civic Center Station from five in the morning to 1 a.m. seven days a week.

"Civic Center is really ground zero for the frustration that riders feel about homelessness, about people who are mentally ill, about feeling unsafe late at night," said Bevan Dufty, a BART board member.

All of the attendants work for Hunters Point Family, a community-based organization.
" We are tasked with bringing a sense of safety and security to area that have become chaotic, said Lena Miller, Executive Director of the non-profit.

The cost of this pilot program is 600 thousand dollars paid for by MUNI and BART.

The attendants will be in place for only six months. After that period, both MUNI and BART will evaluate it and decided if it's worth keeping.

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