Shocking Poll Reveals People Who Feel Unsafe on Public Transit Don’t Use It

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

In news that comes as zero surprise to San Francisco Bay Area residents, or for that matter people regardless of where they live who possess more than three functioning brain cells, a recent survey of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit, the commuter rail system connecting much of the Bay Area) riders reveals who so few people take BART compared to the pre-panicdemic levels. It has nothing to do with working from home.


One of the survey’s most revealing takeaways was that remote work was not the main reason most respondents said they were not riding. The survey found that it’s primarily safety and security concerns that are keeping people from riding BART, with only 17% saying they feel safe on the trains and only 16% describing the transit system as being clean.

The survey’s key findings revealed:

  • 79% say they feel more comfortable riding BART when there is a uniformed police officer or security present

  • 73% say BART should prioritize adding more uniformed police on trains and in stations

  • 62% say BART should improve fare gates to prevent fare evaders; 66% want fare gates to fully enclose station entrances

  • 79% say BART should eject people from the system that violate the passenger code of conduct, which prohibits drugs, smoking, drinking and other illegal or unacceptable behavior

  • 65% say BART should focus on core operations and leave social service issues to other public agencies

  • 90% put high priority on more frequent cleaning

You don’t say.

Having taken BART to and from various jobs countless times over the years. I can attest to the system’s deteriorating condition. It used to be taking BART was relatively comfortable. There would be the occasional joker, and some stations required a higher sense of awareness than others, but overall one did not have to be on constant street survivor status. Those days are gone. Now, it’s not if, but how many homeless and vagrant, often drunk or drugged-out creatures from the black lagoon you will encounter regardless of the time of day or stations traveled to/from. The cars are usually disgusting, and the stations are seldom much better. BART police rarely make their presence known, and station agents don’t bother to so much as look up when someone jumps the fare gates. More than once, I’ve wondered what kind of response I’d get were I to write BART and ask that, despite not meeting the apparent target demographic, I also can ride for free since it seems to be the standard operating procedure for most.


Whether BART listens to these results and responds with action remains to be seen. It’s worth noting that in 2017, BART deliberately refused to share security camera footage of crimes committed in the system to avoid “racial profiling.” At least they were honest about their priorities, and they weren’t with passenger safety.

The whole mess throws a massive monkey wrench into the progressive desire to force people out of their cars and onto mass transit. Over the past few decades, significant apartment and townhouse developments have sprung up around various BART stations, all with the clear plan of packing as many people as possible into as small an area as possible. And hey, what a coincidence — you’re within walking distance of BART! This worked great until first the panicdemic turned any and every location with internet access into an instant office, followed by after the panic had cleared and people started returning to the office, John and Jane Commuter realized they’d rather drive their Tesla to the office than take their life somewhat loosely in their hands by riding the train accompanied by Who’s Who in mental illness. Not to mention needing to bring a change of clothes to slip into before entering the office lest the accumulated odors from fellow passengers that could stop a charging rhinoceros send their coworkers running for the nearest gas mask store.


Once again, progressives have mucked it up. And also, once again, the truth behind the truism that the main reason more people don’t take public transit is the people who already take public transit is on full display.


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