Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

BART to Consider New Policy for Cutting Cellphone Service

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 3:10 PM

click to enlarge This photo may have been taken and transmitted via cellphone
  • This photo may have been taken and transmitted via cellphone

Just as the weekly BART protests have become a faded memory, the transit agency released its  new proposed policy that would allow BART to temporarily cut cellphone service -- but only in extraordinary, 9/11-type scenarios.

So if you are planning to use your cellphone as an explosive, or use it to facilitate violent activity, or to collude with others substantially disrupt service, then, yes, BART could -- and probably would -- jam cellphone service at the stations, said Bob Franklin, president of the BART Board of Directors.

The policy recommendation, which will go before the board for consideration next week, comes just two months after BART was highly criticized for shutting off wireless service on Aug. 11 to prevent protesters from coordinating a demonstration at the stations. The cellphone interruption only provoked protesters and members of Anonymous, which purportedly hacked into BART's website and released personal information of both passengers and police.

Yet Franklin tells us that this new policy, if passed, means BART wouldn't interrupt cellphone service to keep protesters from organizing.

"It could apply, but it would have to be extraordinary circumstance, and the example given is if people chained themselves to a BART train, which could trap 8,000 people in the Transbay Tube -- then we would have to deal with it," Franklin said.

Read the proposed policy here.

Protesters had spread the word that they would gather at the Civic Center BART station on Aug. 11 to protest BART police after the July 3 fatal shooting of Charles Hill, a transient who allegedly threatened BART police with a knife. BART caught wind of this plan, and in a last-ditch effort to stop the chaos, it made the executive decision to completely cut cellphone service to all passengers at four stations.

Needless to say, that didn't go over well with most people (except for Republicans), and the BART board later conceded it had overreacted.

 "It's not a clear-cut 'yes we did the right thing,' or 'no we didn't do the right thing,'" Franklin says in retrospect. "But if police had just gone in there and started wholesale arresting people in advance [of the protest], it would have created a much greater uproar."

Follow us on Twitter at @SFWeekly and @TheSnitcF

  • Pin It

About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"