Franchise Tax Board limited in ability to collect from BART fare evaders

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- From limbo'ing under a fare gate to following a paying rider though-- creativity abounds when it comes to BART fare evasion.

In March of 2018, BART began issuing civil citations to fare evaders. There have been 14,000 citations issued so far-- $75 for an adult, $55 for a juvenile.

RELATED: Fare evasion continues on BART even with new gates

"Along with that nearly 1,500 have paid," said Chris Filippi, BART Spokesperson.

So what about the remaining approximately 12,500? After 28 days and ignored late notices and fees BART can then send fare evaders to the Franchise Tax Board for collection, but only if the fare evader has provided his or her correct social security number.

A Franchise Tax Board Spokesperson tells ABC7 News in 2019 they received 541 delinquent accounts to collect on behalf of BART. So far, they've collected one account for $95.

ABC7News asked BART if someone gets a civil citation, then lie about their name or social security number and the franchise tax board has no way to go after them, why would anyone pay to ride BART?

"We say that we hear their frustrations loud and clear we know we need to do something on fare evasion and that this is one example of a program that we're looking at and we think it provides a deterrent," said Filippi.

In order for the Franchise Tax Board to collect, the fare evader must have income from tax refunds, lottery winnings or unclaimed property disbursements. If the fare evader owes child or spousal support, that debt is prioritized before the BART debt.

Still, BART's spokesperson insists it's not about revenue collection, it's about deterrence.

RELATED: BART board president discusses study on spike in crime, fare evasion

"It's about providing a presence in the system to hopefully change the activities of people," said Filippi.

Another option the BART Spokesperson says they're considering is potentially bringing in a collection agency to help with this process.

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