New BART data highlights racial disparities in fare evasion enforcement

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There’s concern that BART’s African-American passengers are being racially profiled by fare inspectors based on new data collected by the transit agency. 

BART spokesperson, Alicia Trost agues that isn’t the case. 

“Our office of independent police auditor confirms that we are not profiling anyone,” she said.

Since March 2018 riders have been asked to show proof of payment. A preliminary snapshot of the data was taken and shows that 40% of citations were given to African-Americans. 

“…The office of our independent police auditor has reviewed hundreds of hours of tape and confirms that we are giving the citations in a very systematic approach,” Trost said.

The systematic approach is simple yet very crucial, according to Trost. 

“We must ask every single person that walks past the fare inspector for the proof of payment or if we get on a train we must ask every single person on that train,” she said. “We can’t skip anyone. We can’t go straight to anyone and target them and not any one else around the.The data is going to show who is getting the citation.” 

However, the data doesn’t show how the experience impacts BART’s African-American customers who are paying to ride. 

One passenger said, ” I am coping with it. I am not okay with it. I am not comfortable with it.” 

The transit agency estimates it loses around $20 million a year due to fare evasion. 

BART’s board of directors approved fare inspectors to help put a stop to it. 

“BART wants to hire more fare inspectors,” Trost said.” We want to extend it to the evening and weekend ours and the board told us they do not want to hire those extra teams until they see this data.”

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