BART had an arrest-free New Year’s Eve despite dealing with crowded trains and the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of passenger Oscar Grant III in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009.
BART carried about 87,800 passengers between 8 p.m. Thursday and 3 a.m. today, and carried about 302,800 passengers throughout the day, according to agency officials.
Many of the passengers were traveling to the annual fireworks show at San Francisco’s Embarcadero, where BART used a “skip-stop” schedule for the first time to alleviate overcrowding at its nearby station.
Starting at 8 p.m., trains on different lines skipped either the Embarcadero or Montgomery stations to allow the crowd to split evenly between the two stations, resulting in faster boarding times and less crowded platforms.
BART also assigned about 150 police officers, nearly 50 percent more than previous years, to patrol the system during the holiday.
San Francisco and Oakland police officers and deputies from the San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa County sheriff’s departments also assisted near the stations during the evening.
There were a few isolated incidents on the system, but no arrests were made.
The relatively incident-free night stood in stark contrast to last year’s holiday, when former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward man, at the Fruitvale station in Oakland.
Mehserle, 27, and other officers had responded to reports of a fight on a train.
Mehserle has been charged with murder and is expected to stand trial sometime next year. His case has been moved to Los Angeles because a judge ruled it would be difficult for Mehserle to get a fair trial in Alameda County due to the extensive publicity the incident has received.
Mehserle’s lawyer, Michael Rains, has admitted that Mehserle shot and killed Grant, but claims Mehserle meant to use his Taser to stun Grant and used his gun by mistake.
Grant’s family was among the people scheduled to attend a rally at the Fruitvale station at 2 p.m. today to mark the anniversary of Grant’s death.
BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said in a statement that she was happy that this holiday turned out well for the agency.
“We couldn’t be more pleased at how this New Year’s Eve turned out,” Dugger said.
She thanked “our customers for continuing to put their faith in us to get them around the Bay Area quickly and safely.”
BART police Commander Daniel Hartwig said in a statement that, despite the few minor incidents, “New Year’s Eve 2009 was one of the smoothest I have ever seen in my nearly three decades at BART.”