Thousands cited for evading BART fares, but majority don’t pay fine

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — BART says that fare evaders are costing the agency as much as $25 million a year.

Thousands of people were ticketed for the violation last year, but nearly 90-percent of the people who got a ticket have not paid the fine BART has spent at $1.2 million on a proof-of payment policy plan and is also making improvements to station gates to crack down on fare evasion.

Now, if you have an unpaid bart fare evasion ticket, the the fine could come out of your tax refund. BART riders say they have seen it time and time again — riders jumping through the station gates or sneaking behind other riders.

The transportation company is handing out tickets to evaders, but the majority of offenders are not paying the fine — which is $75 for adults, $55 for juveniles.

According to BART, in 2018, it issued 6,800 proof of payment citations.

Only 368 paid people on time, 213 paid after the due date and 38 people resolved the fine through community service. The remaining offenders — 6,181 or 90 percent — did not pay.

Riders are not surprised.

“They didn’t pay before and it was a lot less,” said one rider. “I doubt they are going to pay now.”

“Some people just don’t follow the laws,” another said.

To crack down on people taking a free ride, in September, the BART board voted to hire ten additional fare inspectors, with six more coming this year.

BART retrofitted existing fare gates the Embarcadero Station, as well as at the Pittsburg Center and Antioch Stations, with additional fencing and gates.

The price tag to replace the system’s 600 fare gates is $150-200 million — it’s unclear how BART will afford that.

To collect unpaid tickets, this year the franchise tax board can take the fine out tax returns or take from lottery ticket winnings.

Riders who do pay hope that works.

“If there is no sense of consequence, then why would you pay,” a rider said. “People don’t care.”

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