BART protests cost the agency $300,000 so far

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BART board President Bob Franklin says the recent protests against the transit agency have cost $300
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The recent protests against BART have cost the agency $300,000, and with another event planned for Thursday, that tab is likely to increase.

Since July 3, when BART police officers shot and killed 45-year-old transient Charles Hill at the Civic Center Station, the transit agency has been besieged by a series of protest events aimed at disrupting the evening commute. The protests increased in frequency after Aug. 11, when the agency shut down cell phone service in its downtown stations to prevent a planned gathering.

So far, the bill for dealing with those protests has cost BART $300,000, with most of the expenses related to overtime pay for police officers, according to Bob Franklin, the agency’s board president. The protests have also hurt Muni, which has spent $70,000 to deal with the events, despite having no connection to the July 3 shooting (the two agencies do share downtown stations.)

Although the agency has a $600 million operating budget, Franklin said the $300,000 tab was a significant cost.

On Thursday, the group No Justice, No BART is planning to block fare gates at Powell Street Station during the evening commute, a strategy aimed at making the agency open up its emergency exits to make for free entry for passengers.

Franklin said that would actually hurt the riding public, since their tax money supports the public agency.

“BART is not a for-profit entity,” Franklin said. “This would only hurt the riding public that funds the agency.”

Representatives from No Justice, No BART, said they would continue their protests against BART until the transit agency disbanded its police force.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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