BART officials said today that they will go all out to try to deter potentially rowdy revelers from engaging in unruly behavior on New Year’s Eve and to try to keep their trains moving in an efficient manner.
At today’s board meeting, Cmdr. Daniel Hartwig said, “We will have over 200 police personnel within our system” to keep crowds under control.
Hartwig said as many as 125 BART police officers will be on duty and they will be joined by deputies from the sheriff’s departments in Alameda and San Francisco counties.
Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputies may also help out, he said.
Paul Oversier, the transit agency’s assistant general manager for operations, said BART also will run extra trains and provide “rush-hour-like service” when a fireworks show along San Francisco’s waterfront ends a short time after midnight.
Oversier said BART has come up with a new plan to try to avoid the overcrowding that normally occurs at the Embarcadero station in San Francisco when the fireworks show ends.
He said the Embarcadero station will only accommodate trains going to Dublin and Fremont, which means that trains going to Pittsburg-Bay Point and Richmond will bypass the station.
The Montgomery Street station in San Francisco, in contrast, will only handle trains going on the Pittsburg-Bay Point and Richmond lines, with Dublin and Fremont trains bypassing the station, Oversier said.
The same situation will apply on trains going from the East Bay into San Francisco after 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, according to BART spokesman Linton Johnson.
Trains on the Dublin and Fremont lines will stop at the Embarcadero station but bypass the Montgomery station.
And trains on the Pittsburg-Bay Point and Richmond lines will stop at the Montgomery station but bypass the Embarcadero station.
Johnson said it will be a challenge to let the public know about the service changes for New Year’s Eve.
Oversier said there will be “an extensive plan to communicate with the public,” including media ads.
“We will do a full court press to get the word out to people,” Oversier said.
There were several gun-related incidents on BART last New Year’s Eve and the night culminated in the shooting death of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant III at the hands of former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale station in Oakland shortly after 2 a.m. Jan. 1.
Mehserle and other officers came to the station to respond to reports of a fight on a crowded train. Mehserle was charged with murder and is expected to stand trial sometime late next year.
Oversier told the BART board, “We’ve reached out to the Oscar Grant family” to cooperate in the family’s hopes of having some type of memorial service for Grant at the Fruitvale station on New Year’s Day.
“We’ll support them logistically as best we can,” Oversier said.