By Phil Matier

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — BART’s ‘get tough’ policy with seat hogs appears to be all bark and no bite.

For the second time in a matter of weeks, the agency has caved on enforcing its own rules.

People who ride BART see them sprawled out, taking up two seats or more, with little or regard for others.

“It stinks,” says BART rider Thomas Fox.

Rider Cindy Thompson doesn’t like it either, saying, “People are homeless and need a place to sleep but I don’t want them doing it where I have to commute.”

Other people use seats as a luggage rack.

“That’s annoying, as well,” says Thompson.

Over a year ago, BART passed a rule calling for a fine of $100 for seat hogs. It’s never been enforced. If BART Board President Rebecca Saltzman has her way, it never will be.

“I’ve always been opposed to the ordinance,” said Saltzman.

There are three reasons she says the seat hog law should go.

“One, I don’t think it’s a good use of our very limited police resources; two, when police officers have to come onto a train for any reason it usually causes a delay; and three, it could target the poor,” Saltzman said.

“Riders tend to report homeless people, more than, say, somebody in a suit who had big piece of luggage,” she adds.

Even the police union doesn’t want it.

“We don’t want to have these large escalating police interactions for someone who is sleeping on the train or taking up two seats,” said Saltzman.

BART board member Debora Allen says the agency just doesn’t want to do it. She says BART seems to have trouble implementing most of the user laws they put in place.

With BART, we have too much focus on helping the homeless, on helping drug addicts, on helping a variety social classes and we are not focused on BART’s mission, which is to provide clean, reliable and safe transit,” said Allen.


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