A couple of weeks ago, the BART board of directors voted 7-1 to approve a new policy that aims to bring retail vendors within the free areas of stations. At the time, BART officials said that this retail plan wouldn’t change BART’s no food/drink policies, but today with a vendor decision looming, at least one BART official appears to be open to the idea of riders chowing down.


BART property development manager Jeff Ordway told board members at their January 13 meeting that BART hoped the new policy would provide a more user-friendly environment for its riders that would include a mix of both nationally- and locally-owned businesses.

He stressed that the policy doesn’t change BART’s “no eating or drinking” policy in paid areas of its stations or on its trains. The board approved the proposal that day, with SF’s Tom Radulovich the only director voting against.

Today the BART board reconvenes to possibly authorize negotiations with TransMart to be their “master vendor,” that is, the private company tasked with recruiting and managing the retailers for 10 of BART’s busiest stations, including all four in downtown San Francisco, agency spokesman Jim Allison told Examiner reporter Will Reisman.

Allison reiterated to Reisman that “BART would retain its policy of barring food and drinks from its trains, due to cleanliness issues.”

BART board president James Fang isn’t so sure, telling Reisman that “it might be worth revisiting the agency’s policy against food and drinks on trains.” Interesting!

I reached out to my favorite BART-related site, BART Don’t Lie, to get their take on the issue, but haven’t received a response by publication time.

But what about you? Are you for, against, or totally neutral on BART’s food and drink policy? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and there’s a poll for your voting pleasure, of course.

Jeff Shuttleworth of Bay City News contributed to this report

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • Boris

    One of the goals of public transit is (should be!) to get people to use it instead of riding in a car. As such it should view itself as being in competition with automobiles. The important question is “What advantages can we offer a rider that is _better_ then riding in a car?”. Eating a bagel and drinking a coffee while I read the paper on my morning commute would be a huge plus. It saves me prep time at home _and_ keeps be busy on my commute so I don’t think “god this takes long”.

    If local officials adopted the attitude of being in competition with automobiles I’m sure we would get more inovations. For instance, where is the working wifi on all area trains and buses?

  • Boris

    One of the goals of public transit is (should be!) to get people to use it instead of riding in a car. As such it should view itself as being in competition with automobiles. The important question is “What advantages can we offer a rider that is _better_ then riding in a car?”. Eating a bagel and drinking a coffee while I read the paper on my morning commute would be a huge plus. It saves me prep time at home _and_ keeps be busy on my commute so I don’t think “god this takes long”.

    If local officials adopted the attitude of being in competition with automobiles I’m sure we would get more inovations. For instance, where is the working wifi on all area trains and buses?

  • modelenoir

    It might not be such a big deal if the folks that designed the thing, in their infinite wisdom, weren’t such huge fans of cloth seats on public transportation.

    The number one feature of a public transport vehicle should be their ability to be cleaned with a fire hose.

  • modelenoir

    It might not be such a big deal if the folks that designed the thing, in their infinite wisdom, weren’t such huge fans of cloth seats on public transportation.

    The number one feature of a public transport vehicle should be their ability to be cleaned with a fire hose.