OAKLAND (KCBS) – Bay Area Rapid Transit has been giving free rides to police officers for decades.

The program, launched in 1974, was started as a way to increase security on the system.

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier reports in Monday’s Matier and Ross column that the only requirement for this perk is that they must be licensed to carry a firearm when off-duty.

More than 4,000 officers over the years have gotten the special pass. That’s more than the number of BART employees who have received the perk, 3,624.