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BART protest costs spilling over to Muni operations

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Collateral damage: Many of Muni’s aboveground lines have suffered delays in connection with BART protests

Muni may have had no role in the fatal July 3 shooting of a transient by BART police officers, but it has felt the effects of the fallout.

Not only have the BART protests fouled up the commute for Muni passengers, the events are also messing with the San Francisco transit agency’s bottom line.

So far, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni, has spent $70,000 in extra costs to deal with the acts of protesters, who have targeted BART for its handling of the officer-involved shooting 45-year-old Charles Hill at the Civic Center station.

On three different occasions, protesters have swarmed San Francisco’s downtown transit stations — which are shared by BART and Muni — forcing significant delays for commuters. Monday, protesters repeatedly overwhelmed the Powell and Civic Center stations, causing BART and Muni to shut down the depots on several occasions.

Not only did Muni’s underground rail service get affected by the Monday protests, but its cable car service was replaced by shuttle buses, and many of the above-ground lines on Market Street were subject to delays.

To deal with the crush of protesters, the SFMTA has employed more station agents and parking control officers, while adding supplementary transit service to deal with the delays, said agency spokesman Paul Rose. Those changes have accounted for the $70,000 price tag, which will likely grow after the next protest, scheduled for Monday at 5 p.m.

Rose said that the SFMTA has no immediate plans to ask BART for a reimbursement from the costs incurred by the protest.

“Right now, we’re just focused on providing the necessary support for any future protests,” Rose said. Both BART and the San Francisco Police Department are expected to release their costs related to the protests soon.

Despite corralling activists protesting BART policies, the San Francisco Police Department will not be reimbursed by the transit agency, according to Melissa Miller, a BART spokeswoman. Miller said that containing the protests are part of regular police duty, so BART has no obligation to pay the Police Department back.

The first protest against BART happened July 11 and was largely targeted at the agency’s police force. The protesters have grown to include free speech advocates following the agency’s decision Aug. 11 to shut down cellphone service in its downtown stations. BART defended the move, saying it was necessary to prevent a dangerous and disruptive planned protest.

Tangled transit web

$70,000: Cost Muni has absorbed to deal with BART protests
$775 million: Budget of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni
35: Protesters arrested by police Monday



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