BART launches ambassador program to improve rider safety

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – BART launched its latest program to improve rider safety. 

You may remember that last month, BART added new police officers to patrol trains. 

Now, there are also 10 new BART ambassadors.  

BART is hoping this extra presence will deter crime from happening on the trains. 

Some riders say most of the issues they have on BART are harassment, or drunken behavior and just general feelings of discomfort.

According to BART, these new ambassadors are an answer to those types of problems — an extra set of eyes and presence on trains that a lot of riders hope will make a difference. 

“That makes me feel better actually. Do you know when is that going to happen? Today! Really! That’s good to hear,”  Jessica Piasecki said.

It was a pleasant surprise for BART riders Monday. 

“It’s something our riders have been asking for, it’s something we’ll use in addition to our 12 new officers that we currently have out on the trains,” BART Chief of Police Ed Alvarez said.

During this pilot program, the 10 uniformed ambassadors will patrol trains and platforms in pairs, seven days a week. 

Riders will see them on the more heavily traveled routes like the corridor — from 12th Street and Oakland to Civic Center Stations but as night falls they will also ride to the end of the lines as well. 

“We’ll be riding the train, having high visibility on the train, patrolling and de-escalating situations where we don’t necessarily have to call the police and just educate and give people resources we have, I think that’s the best way we’ll be able to impact the community,” Lateefa Davis said.

All 10 ambassadors worked previously in the BART system as community service officers and have since been further trained on de-escalation and anti-bias tactics.

“I would’ve never thought that would be a thing because people warned me before I moved here, be careful when you ride BART,” Piasecki said.

Jessica Piasecki just moved to the Bay Area a month ago and already has seen her fair share of bad BART behavior.

“People who are really wasted or on drugs someone shooting up actually,” Piasecki said.

She hopes the extra presence will make her future rides a little more comfortable.

“I’m gonna be taking BART to grad school every day so as a student that makes me feel good,” Piasecki said. 

These ambassadors are unarmed, they do have pepper spray and Narcan with them though.

They say they’re not only here to deter crime but to help riders if they have issues too. 

Whether that be a health issue or some sort of question a rider may have again this is a six-month pilot program, BART says they’ll continue to listen to rider feedback to ensure the program is working.

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