PITTSBURG, Calif. - The BART Board of Directors on Thursday voted 7-2 to hire 10 more fare inspectors.
Now the team has 17, including inspectors to check tickets at night and on weekends.
Specifically, the board voted to authorize police to hire eight new unarmed inspectors at a cost of $900,000 annually. They also approved releasing two new positions that had already been budgeted for but had been put on hold by the board. BART police will work to hire these new "Community Service Officers" and train and deploy them sometime during the first quarter of the 2019 calendar year, the agency said.
BART also proposed $25 million in technology and equipment upgrades : Erecting taller barriers around the paid areas of the stations, installing alarms on exit doors and raising the railings.
Several BART riders at the meeting in Pittsburg expressed support for more surveillance after three recent homicides at BART stations and the July stabbing death of 18-year old Nia Wilson outside the MacArthur Station in Oakland.
“Surveillance, A.I., those types of technologies do work to fight crime, solve issues, and provide more safety," a community member said at the meeting. "Speaking as a resident of East County, we’re OK with that.”
Critics, though, said the fare enforcement program racially profiles African Americans.
BART showed that since March, more than 3,800 citations were issued: 47 percent were issued to black riders.
The two dissenting board members suggested investing in fare gates instead.
But the majority of the board argued that the non-sworn officers increase police presence on-board trains and platforms and sends a message of customer equity – that everyone pay their fair share.