The BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) has provided transportation for Bay Area residents and visitors for more than 45 years. Unfortunately, BART’s approval rating has plunged as riders complain about the service, crime, and the conditions they experience when they ride the rail.
A report from the Alameda County Grand Jury found that violent crime on the BART system has increased by 115 percent during the past five years. As of May 2019, BART police received 402 reports of electronic devices being stolen on trains. BART phone thefts have doubled this year alone. Assaults, murders, and other violent crimes are also a serious problem on BART trains and around BART platforms and stations.
Theft is not the only concern for BART riders. In the past couple of years, several riders have been pricked by hypodermic needles left behind by transient drug users. The needles are left on train seats, in bathrooms, on platforms, and throughout the entire BART system.
How Can You Protect Yourself as a BART Rider?
There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of being injured or becoming the victim of a crime while riding the BART. BART Safety tips include:
- Make a mental note of the train car number when you board the train.
- Instead of calling 911 in an emergency, call the BART police directly. Save the BART police dispatch number into your cell phone as an emergency contact (510-464-7000).
- Use the BART Watch App to send a private text directly to the BART police dispatch office.
- Store and secure your cell phone, electronics, and other personal items before you enter a BART station. Hold onto items tightly while you wait for the train. Do not stand too close to the train car doors in case someone is waiting to snatch items when the doors open.
- If someone grabs your personal items, do not risk your safety by fighting the person for the items.
- Before you sit down on a train seat, look to ensure there are no needles or other dangerous objects on the seat or sticking out from between or behind the seat cushions.
- Do not sleep while riding the BART. Stay awake and pay close attention to your surroundings and the people around you.
- If you feel uncomfortable or notice something that feels wrong, notify the BART police immediately.
- When traveling alone or at night, try to sit in the first train car to be closer to the train conductor.
- If emergency instructions are issued, listen carefully, and follow the instructions.
- Avoid distractions when entering the stations, boarding the trains, and using the stairs and escalators. Distractions can lead to slip and fall injuries.
- Never cross the train tracks or walk on the trackways.
- Avoid running on the trains and platforms.
- Review the Injury Prevent Guide carefully provided by BART
- If you encounter a suspicious item, do not touch it. Contact BART police dispatch immediately. Be prepared to describe the item and tell the dispatcher the exact location of the item.
- Always monitor children closely in all areas of the station and on the train. Hold hands with children and assist them on escalators and trains. Never leave children unattended for any reason.
- Read the safety signs and notices mounted in stations and trains.
- Register for email and text alerts to help stay ahead of issues and problems.
What Should You Do If You Are Injured While Riding the Bart?
Call 911 or the BART police dispatch immediately for assistance. According to injury law firm Rosenthal Kreeger, LLP “ Common carrier laws place a higher duty of care on public transit drivers than other drivers and common carriers have a legal duty to prevent injuries to passengers.” After receiving medical attention for your injury, consider consulting with an injury lawyer. Because your injury claim involves a government entity, special rules and laws apply regarding filing deadlines and notice requirements. Seeking help from an experienced BART injury lawyer can help you avoid mistakes that could harm your injury claim.