(KCBS Radio) — The latest report from BART on its effort to limit fare evasion has triggered a debate on racial disparity within the system.
That's because BART has revealed that of the 12,000 citations issued for fare evasion between July 2018 and June 30th of this year, 46% were issued to riders who identified themselves as African-American, the San Francisco Chronicle.
BART's overall rider-ship is estimated to be 12% African-American.
The agency claims its sweeps for fare cheats do not target individuals by race.
KCBS Reporter Jim Taylor recently witnessed a sweep at the Embarcadero Station in San Francisco where armed BART officers boarded trains, looking for proof of payment.
"As soon as a train comes in, they board it, and they demand to see proof of payment from every passenger on the train," said Taylor. "Couple people I saw did not have that; they argued with them for awhile, then marched them off the train."
BART acknowledge that its inspectors may stop everyone as they leave a station, and talk to everyone on a train they've targeted.
Inspectors also wear body cameras, and BART maintains that the footage is regularly checked to ensure they are asking everyone at a given location to show proof of payment.
As reported in the Chronicle, newly-elected BART Board President Lateefah Simon called the disparities unacceptable. She's reportedly demanded an academic study of the proof-of-payment system at BART.