BART protesters are prepping for another night of commuter grief, with plans to block the fare gates at the Powell Street station starting at 4:30 p.m.
The goal is to get the transit agency to open the swing gates, which means commuters would be able to ride for free. But BART officials are warning that no such thing will happen. What will happen is that protesters who are busted blocking the fare gates will be arrested, says Jim Allison, spokesman for BART.
"We are going to keep fare gates open and accessible for people who want to go home," Allison told SF Weekly.
Allison says the only other time BART has opened the swing gates was during spontaneous demonstrations and after the Giants won the World Series -- and that was only to relieve the crowds in the station, he said.
"That's apples and oranges," Allison said comparing that to the planned demonstration for tonight.
So basically we can expect another hellish commute home if protesters follow through with their plans. It will certainly be livelier than what we experienced last week when protesters decided to tone it down a notch and demonstrate outside the stations, rather than storming the trains, blocking the doors and forcing stations to close.
It is the fourth week of BART protests in response to the July 3
shooting of Charles Hill, a 45-year-old transient who police say was
armed with knives when they shot him on the Civic Center platform. Protesters have vowed to demonstrate and disrupt BART service until the agency meets its demands, one of which is firing BART police chief Kenton Rainey.
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