To better fund an affordable and accessible BART, we must implement a smart strategy to discourage a culture of fare evasion: through physical and technological improvements in our stations. In the absence of means-based fares, BART needs fare revenue to fund improvements and programs that make the system usable for all, including those who cannot currently afford to ride.
Following the best practices of other cities, we can recoup BART's fare losses by making our station infrastructure less permeable. Taller gates, state-of-the-art technology, and reconfigured elevator locations will go a long way to stopping evasion. As other transit systems prove, these improvements are the most effective way to create a culture of fare-paying.
We cannot use this issue to scapegoat those who cannot afford to use our system. Fare evasion happens at every station, by riders of all ages, incomes, genders, and ethnic groups. Infrastructure upgrades are a far more cost-effective, fair, and safe solution than an expensive and ineffective enforcement surge. We can discourage fare evasion without criminalizing and over-policing BART's most vulnerable riders.