A new ordinance punishes manspreaders and luggage-hoarders, though police worry it could penalize the homeless.

Are you the type of person who, on road trips with family, went ballistic if a sibling crossed the seat’s middle line? Then you’ll probably be thrilled to know the San Francisco Bay Area just made this microaggression a crime on BART, punishable with a $100 ticket for first-time seat hoggers.

Granted, police are supposed to first issue a verbal warning when the so-called “one ticket, one seat” ordinance goes into effect in six months. The new rule also only applies during “commute hours” (weekdays from 6-10 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.), and there are probably going to be exceptions for the disabled and those whose bodies are large enough to warrant a couple seats. But fines are looking harsh for all the other manspreaders, folks with mountains of luggage, and boors who insist on using other seats as footrests—$200 for the second offense and $500 thereafter.

The transit agency says it will spend the next few months developing an enforcement strategy, which is crucial since an earlier effort to pass a seat-hog ordinance cratered without one. A major worry is that the rule will be used to disproportionately target the homeless, as The Chronicle reports:

Officer Keith Garcia, president of the BART Police Officers’ Association, said Thursday he’s fine with the ordinance but that it will result in heavy enforcement against homeless riders.

“Most of these complaints are going to be against the homeless,” he said. “That may cause a backlash.”

[BART Director Joel] Keller said the ordinance will not be used to single out the homeless.

“I think it’s bigger than that,” he said in an earlier interview. “There are homeless people on our trains taking more than one seat, but there are also people with backpacks, with luggage, with other things occupying seats. This is not an effort to target or harass anyone, merely an effort to make seats available.”

H/t SFist

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: a high-speed train in Switzerland
    Transportation

    The Case for Portland-to-Vancouver High-Speed Rail

    At the Cascadia Rail Summit outside Seattle, a fledgling scheme to bring high-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver found an enthusiastic reception.

  2. photo: a woman on an electric scooter
    Transportation

    Why Aren’t More Women Riding Electric Scooters?

    Most users of micromobility devices like dockless scooters and e-bikes are young men. Fixing that gender gap may take more than just adding safety features.

  3. A sign outside a storefront in Buffalo, New York.
    Environment

    Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven?

    The Western New York city possesses a distinct mix of weather, geography, and infrastructure that could make it a potential climate haven. But for whom?

  4. A Soviet map of London, labeled in Russian.
    Maps

    The Soviet Military Secretly Mapped the Entire World

    These intricate, curious maps were supposed to be destroyed. The ones that remain reveal a fascinating portrait of how the U.S.S.R. monitored the world.

  5. A photo-illustration of a county map of the U.S.
    Maps

    I Used This Map to Find a Happy Childhood

    I was haunted by painful memories of growing up. But when I started tracking every county I’d ever visited, I found a better way of seeing my past.

×