HAYWARD (KPIX 5) — Bay Area Rapid Transit has been cracking down on men and women who park in their lots who play a crucial role in the commute: AC Transit bus drivers.
Every day thousands of people pass through the Hayward BART station. Many of them get there on AC Transit buses.READ MORE: Family Clings To Hope That Missing San Francisco Toddler Arianna Fitts Is Still Alive
“Because that’s what we’re here for …to bring people to the BART station,” says AC Transit driver, Richard Ochoa.
The people who drive the buses here feel BART doesn’t seem to appreciate them very much.
The Hayward station is a hub for AC Transit and many bus drivers begin and end their shifts here. A lot of them park their cars in the BART lot while they’re working.
They pay the daily fee but the spaces are supposed to be reserved for round-trip BART riders. So, bus drivers are getting tickets for parking there.
“We’re supposed to be in this together and we’re turning around and getting penalties for it and getting fined for it,” says driver Cody Walker.
You do see a lot of AC Transit employees coming and going from the station, but no one really knows how many are parking there.READ MORE: Ballpark Beating Victim Bryan Stow Tosses Out Giants First Pitch
Drivers were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their parking habits as the two agencies discuss the issue.
Technically, AC Transit drivers are supposed to park at a bus facility on the south side of town and take a shuttle to the BART station. They say that process can add up to an hour on each end of their day.
That’s why many of them come straight to the BART parking lot.
“It’s been going on since AC has been here and it hadn’t been no problem,” says driver Kevin Reed.
Still, BART spokesperson Alicia Trost insists parking is premium.
“Parking’s in high demand and we have to serve our riders,” she says. “But we also understand the situation they’re in so we’re reaching out to them to see if we can work out something here.”MORE NEWS: Fire Erupts At Half Moon Bay's Historic San Benito House Inn; Two Rescued
BART says it can’t afford to lose dozens of spaces to non-riders each day, even if they are the very people who make public transit to the station possible.