BART would get authority to ban those who repeatedly break the law -- fare cheats, vandals or possibly protesters disrupting train service -- from entering its stations under a bill passed by state lawmakers and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.
Assembly Bill 716 would empower BART to bar someone who commits infractions on three separate occasions over 90 days at a train station, on a train or on other BART property.
Meanwhile, another protest is planned against BART next Monday evening -- the eighth since the July 3 fatal shooting of a knife-wielding homeless man by a transit police officer. Postings via Twitter suggest protesters may ride trains.
A protest that took place Monday night was far less heated than earlier protests and resulted in no arrests, service disruptions or station closures.
The rail safety bill by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, would extend the soon-to-expire authority of the Sacramento and Fresno public transit systems to bar repeat offenders from using their systems for up to 90 days.
BART was added to the bill and would get the same authority under a pilot project to run from Jan. 1, 2012, to Jan. 1, 2015.
Before barring any repeat offenders, however, the BART board would have to adopt rules and create an advisory committee to monitor passenger bans.
BART Board President Bob Franklin said his board supports the bill because it would give the transit system another tool to deal with unruly passengers who disrupt service or threaten transit passengers, employees or property. Franklin said the bill was not aimed at protesters, but it could be used to temporarily bar those who are repeatedly cited for breaking the law.
Protesters have asserted that BART is trying to trample their free speech rights.
Franklin said a state law passed last year may be better suited to deal with unruly protests by increasing penalties for repeat law breakers on transit systems, and making it a crime not to leave a closed transit station area when ordered to do so by police.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267.
Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.