Reader Frank F. has no love for Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies after getting a picture of his car in front of the Lake Merritt BART Station in Oakland and a hefty ticket for violating bus stop parking rules.
Here’s his story:
I recently received a parking ticket for being dropped off in front of the Lake Merritt BART station on 8th Avenue. There is a very long bus stop with the bus sign behind several trees at the far end of the zone not in front of the BART entrance.
I very much understand the need to keep the buses moving and the problem with cars and buses at the bus zones. The Lake Merritt Bart station is not that busy with limited number of buses running at 20-minute headways. However it is an easy place to write tickets …
Two or three days a week, an AC Sheriff’s Dept vehicle parks in a red zone across the street and takes pictures of the cars stopping to let people off at the Bart station. The ticket is mailed to you and they make no personal contact with you.
There is no education program, no person with ticket book reminding people not to park here etc. the Sheriff department writes over 12,000 tickets per year at $250.00 per ticket. (the information is proudly mentioned on the Web page for the Traffic control program: http://www.alamedacountysheriff.org/mainpage.htm) I don’t see an education program reminding people not to even stop in bus zones.
Finally I think better identification of the bus zone around the BART stations is in order and identifying the fine amount would help. I would hope that this purpose here is to keep the buses moving the passengers safe and not the over $3,000,000 dollars in fines collected without an education program..
Frank goes on to say that he’s also complained to AC Transit, the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Department, and that the appeals process wasn’t much help. He also makes reference to donuts, but I don’t think impugning deputies’ alleged nutritional infractions is appropriate here.
But let’s not bicker and argue over who ate what or who ticketed whom. The important question here is: Is this sound transit policy?
I asked Metropolitan Transportation Spokesman Randy Rentschler, not just because he’s good for a quote, but because his office looks out over the very same illegal kiss ‘n’ ride spot where Frank got photographically violated.
From his perch, Randy said, it appears that Franks description of the bus stop is accurate.
And while we were on the phone, he said, I see someone dropping someone off now, and theres a cop watching.
Could this be the parking sting operation, by deputies on contract to police AC Transit stops?
Mr. Rentschler, in his capacity as transportation guru, suggested that zapping commuters with gotcha-grams and hefty fines might not be the best way to encourage transit use.
But then, there are two sides to every story, and perhaps more. After youve had a chance to chew on this scenario a bit, well see what the Bus `n Bust agencies have to say for themselves.