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. Life

    Mapping the Changing Colors of Fall Across the U.S.

    Much of the country won’t see those vibrant oranges and reds until mid-October, which leaves plenty of time for leaf peepers to plan their autumn road trips.

  2. a photo of a full parking lot with a double rainbow over it
    Transportation

    Parking Reform Will Save the City

    Cities that require builders to provide off-street parking trigger more traffic, sprawl, and housing unaffordability. But we can break the vicious cycle.   

  3. a map comparing the sizes of several cities
    Maps

    The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

  4. A woman looks straight at camera with others people and trees in background.
    Equity

    Why Pittsburgh Is the Worst City for Black Women, in 6 Charts

    Pittsburgh is the worst place for black women to live in for just about every indicator of livability, says the city’s Gender Equity Commission.

  5. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

×