Here’s why BART’s board chairman blames San Francisco for train safety issues

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — On Wednesday night, the chairman of BART’s board of directors blamed the city and county of San Francisco for the transit agency’s safety issues on trains.

It comes as the system faced significant delays on Tuesday and security concerns in recent weeks.

Video from Tuesday shows crowds of people boarding BART trains Tuesday at the Embarcadero station in San Francisco.

Then in the East Bay, crowds neck and neck at Pleasant Hill Bart station as runners tried to make their way home.

VIDEO: Bay Area company offers self-defense classes after recent transit attacks

Many of these delays are due to downed trees on the tracks.

“It was crazy! The docks were packed and it took me an hour and a half to get home,” said BART rider Nicole Jaeger.

Jaeger was traveling from San Francisco to Hayward on Tuesday and says that while she understands weather issues do occur, she now faces BART delays and cancellations on a regular basis.

BART Board Director Janice Li spoke at Manny’s Community Space in San Francisco on Wednesday night, but did not address either issue. She talked a lot about what she calls a lack of investment in the system.

“This lack of investment has built up over time to the point where it’s so expensive to run our systems and maintain them. We’re trying to do more with less,” Li said.

MORE: BART plans to expand services for new line, night trains by 2030

Riders tell us that safety is a top concern. They’ve seen crisis response teams lately, but Li is basically saying the issues plaguing San Francisco are bleeding on BART.

“The effectiveness of these programs is really, really limited by the honest inability of the City and County of San Francisco to have real solutions and real exits from homelessness and to really address the addiction crisis. we have here and until the City and County of San Francisco can come together to find those solutions, we will inevitably see those things happen on BART,” Li said.

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Jaeger and at least three other people who contacted us on Wednesday say homeless people often occupy a full row of seats during commute hours and sometimes take drugs on board.

“You pray that you don’t get sick or die because you don’t know what they’re doing or what they’re smoking on the train. Whether it’s crack, meth, heroin because you just don’t know,” Jaeger said.

In a tweet this week, those with BART say “Starting next week, BART Police will increase their presence on trains.” They say an additional 8 to 18 officers per shift will join the 10 officers currently patrolling at any one time.

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