SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — BART Police Chief Ed Alvarez headed up a news conference Monday morning to outline the details and benefits of a new plan to maximize BART police presence in the system. Bay Area Council COO John Grubb and Union Square Alliance CEO Marisa Rodriguez also spoke.
As part of the plan, the BART Police Department will be increasing police presence on trains and in stations by redeploying officers from their patrol cars and getting them on trains. Chief Alvarez said BART riders can now expect to see more than double the number of BART cops patrolling the trains.
“To increase our presence we are removing seven of our traditional vehicle patrols per shift and redeploying those officers inside trains, which also includes our canine unit,” Alvarez said. “This strategy will ensure that eight to 18 officers will patrol trains per shift.”
BART ridership is down more than 60% since the height of the pandemic. The results of a survey conducted by the Bay Area Council sheds light on the low ridership number.
“To get revenue back up we have to get people back on BART and paying those fares,” said Bay Area Council COO John Grubb. “In our survey of employers, they could not be more clear. Employees are not riding BART because they don’t think it’s safe.”
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Although not everyone agrees that more police are the answer.
BART passenger Annie Edwards said increased police presence would have made her “a little more nervous.”
BART officials say that over the next few months, they will make a decision on whether to install new fare gates to further improve security.
“That’s a process. It is going to take some time but there’s unanimous support at the BART Board,” said BART Board Member Bev Duffy.