BART crackdown: Officers and fare inspectors target rule breakers

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- BART has kicked off a new push to stop fare evaders and those who commit crimes.

An ABC7 News crew hopped on a BART train at the Fremont station during the morning rush to see if they could catch a glimpse of the increase in officers patrolling the rail system.

"Yeah I think it will be helpful if they are more visible," Frank Hernandez, a frequent BART rider, said.

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An ABC7 News crew rode up the line to the Coliseum, weaved in and out of cars, and back down the line to Fremont. They didn't see police officers.

According to BART, it's new security crackdown is not system wide, but riders will know when they see it.

BART won't specify where and when the blitz will happen. When it does, riders can expect to see large numbers of officers, fare inspectors and staff in visibility vests.

A different ABC7 News crew riding BART near Berkeley saw officers Monday night. Based off of commuters' accounts, several officers were be spotted at the Embarcadero station on Tuesday morning.

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Hernandez wishes there could be officers all over the lines. He told ABC7 News he felt unsafe on a car a few weeks ago.
"Somebody came up to me and was threatening me," Hernandez said. "Started threatening with one of those snub nose, one of those little snub nose pliers things."

BART said its general manager will propose adding 19 new police officer positions in the next fiscal year budget. It begins July 1.

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"It's always been a problem that you see fare evaders," Sunil Mirpuri, a BART commuter, said. "It was really nice to see this morning coming in. I actually saw somebody getting ticketed for evading the fare."

BART said it loses $25 million a year as a result of people not paying for tickets. Many stations already have been retrofitted with raised railings and alarmed swing gates. Seven more stations be completed by the end of summer 2019.

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