Following a steady stream of rider complaints, BART said Monday that starting next week it will start temporarily banning anyone caught fighting, acting unruly or treating the train as a toilet.
Two years in the making, the new state law set to take effect May 6 will allow the agency to issue "prohibition orders" banishing rogue riders from entering BART trains, stations or parking lots for 30 days to a year depending on the offense.
The No. 1 priority for BART police officers will be finding aggressive people who pose a danger to passengers and staff of the Bay Area train line. The agency will ban anyone who commits a misdemeanor or felony offense, which includes assaults, prostitution and drug dealing.
But three lesser offenses that pile up within 90 days will also lead to a ban. That includes ne'er-do-wells caught going to the bathroom outside of restrooms, tagging BART property with graffiti, blocking passengers from coming and going, or carrying hazardous materials on board.
The new law, which applies only to BART but follows similar powers granted to transit agencies in Sacramento and Fresno, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2011, but it took until now for the rail line to prepare.
"BART police officers have completed extensive training on applying the law, including ways to work with special-needs populations, such as individuals with mental illness or homeless persons," BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said in a statement. "Now it's time to begin using the authority as one of the tools we have to keep our riders and workers safe."
BART employees who work inside the kiosks at stations will have on their computers the names and pictures of any hooligans who are not supposed to be there.
The agency previously had to seek "stay-away" orders with individual county district attorneys to ban unruly passengers, so officials say this latest process will be much easier.
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at twitter.com/RosenbergMerc. ___
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"This woman was too preoccupied in chomping on her overpriced Whole Foods salad to move her bags off of that empty seat".
"This guy literally elbowed my 5-year-old daughter out of the way to sit down, while we stood from West Oakland to Walnut Creek. Sure hope that seat helped him score an Angry Birds personal best."
"Really wanted to sit right next to her just to piss her off".
"This guy was covered in sh*t down his backside. Somebody will eventually sit in the fabric seat he was sitting in".
July 7, 2012. This d*ckhead was wearing spurs. I don't give a sh*t what kind of fashion statement he was trying to make. Imagine him backing into you on a crowded train and stabbing your Achille's tendon?
"Look at the reflection of the guy across from Mr. Stinky Feet - he's gagging"
"Excuse me sir, you dropped something!"
You shall not pass.
"This fine gentleman who is manicuring his fingernails on a crowded train. I almost lost an eye".
"Give the elderly gentleman a seat!"
"Packed train after a Giants game and we got a double whammy here: a sleeping guy and a luggage lady. Meanwhile, it's standing room only."
"Ooh my backpack is too fancy for the floor..."
"Riding home on a packed train after the Giants game and this guy decides to make himself comfortable."