BART to consider ban on panhandling, busking on trains

BART Director Debora Allen plans to propose a ban on panhandling and busking on trains. She will ask directors at today's board meeting to put it on the agenda for a future meeting.

Busking is playing music and dancing for money.

"People tell me they just want to be left alone on the train. They don't want to be forced in a confined space to listen to someone else's music. They don't want to be forced to watch dancers. They don't want to be forced to watch panhandlers walk up and down the train and ask people for money individually," Allen said as she headed in to today's meeting in Oakland.

She knows she will face opposition. Bart board president Bevan Dufty is against it. The ACLU questions whether it is constitutional. She thinks they can work through the issues.

"I've done some preliminary research that would indicate that within a paid area BART has a right to have its own ordinances. We already have ordinances that prohibit loud music, smoking, eating, drinking and we can add panhandling to that," Allen said.

Riders this morning told us they do not like dealing with panhandling on the trains. But whether it should be banned was another issue.

"I do feel trapped..but it is hard. They are human beings and they are just trying to make a living," said Pepper Card who is a visiting nurse and is here temporarily.



"A lot of young people need to make money and they haven't made it big yet. It is their chance to practice their talent with an audience and I get that, I believe in art. I just don't like the feeling of being locked in and have to participate. I like choice," said Dale Slaton of Pleasanton.

We also heard plenty of strong opposition to panhandling on BART.

"I think it should be banned. I think it is annoying. BART, for me, is my time to relax to and fro. I don't want to be bothered with the loud music and the dancing and the panhandlers. I don't like it," said Darrell Kahoalii of Pleasanton.

Allen says to make yourself heard if you have an opinion.

"All I can say is- write to your directors and give them your feedback," she said.

She is also up for re-election next year so voters can express themselves at the ballot box as well.

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