BART ordinance would outlaw panhandling at platforms, inside trains

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — As panhandlers at BART stations have become more aggressive through the years, one BART board member says it’s time to outlaw the practice altogether.

Aggressive panhandling is already prohibited at BART and if cited, violators could face up to a year in jail and as much as a $50,000 fine.

“I don’t appreciate people trying to panhandle,” said one BART rider.

The problem is passengers say they rarely see aggressive panhandlers punished and even the nice one’s aren’t pleasant.

“You know you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to make some money, you know, but it gets kind of annoying sometimes,” another rider said. 

Debora allen agrees.

She sits on the BART board of directors.

She wants to make all forms of panhandling illegal in all areas at BART stations that require a payment to enter.

That’s platforms and on trains.

“We’re just not going to allow it,” she said. 

Allen says she intends to discuss possibly creating a new ordinance at the board’s meeting this week that would give the board time to research the issue, and then potentially vote on a proposal in October.

“At the end of the day, this is not just about performers. It’s about all the people who ask for money on the train. And, there are some really regular people who do it a lot,” Allen said.

Some riders feel a ban would go too far.

“It doesn’t really bother me at all,” one rider said.

Others support it.

“They want to guilt you and I just want to point them to services. Just say there’s stuff out there for you, go find it,” the rider said.

In the meantime, reach out to a station agent if you come across a panhandler who crosses the line.

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