Ticket to whine

At the end of a soggy, frustrating day, there’s nothing quite like arriving back at your car in the Fremont BART parking lot to find a $25 parking citation – after you paid the parking fee.

I followed the directions on the sign: 1) Park in any numbered stall in the Daily Parking area of the lot. 2) Remember your stall number. 3) Go to the Parking Validation/AddFare machine inside the station and enter your stall number. 4) Pay the fee using cash or a BART blue ticket. 5) Retrieve your receipt.

Apparently, they forgot to note the all-important No. 6: “None of the above matters if a BART cop decides to come along and make stuff up.”

The officer cleverly managed to observe my vehicle in the parking stall at 11:10 a.m., a neat trick since it was sitting in the newsroom parking lot at the time. I didn’t actually arrive at BART until 11:35, at which point I spent five minutes driving around in circles looking for a spot (a blog for another time), finally finding one closer to Mission Peak than the BART station.

 I paid the $1 fee at 11:46 a.m., 13 minutes before Officer Make Believe wrote his ticket. Oh, and I have a receipt with a time stamp.

Doesn’t matter. According to the hapless troll who answered the phone at the citation processing center, I can either cough up the $25 or write them a letter explaining why they should believe my, you know, provable truth, over Officer Wrong A Lot’s word. Want to guess what side they’ll come down on?

Bet I’m not alone. Anyone else out there got a BART horror story?

Rob Dennis


  1. That is ridicolous. There is nothing that you can do to get your money back?? I can’t stand anything about BART, especially the parking!! Sounds to me like some Bart cop needed to meet his quota for the day. You should fight this ticket as far as you need to go!!

  2. I have plenty, but nothing better than that. There’s nothing better than a “cop” who can’t tell time.

  3. I have a lot of second-hand BART horror stories. My favorites include:
    The 8 year old who was detained by BART cops for trying to bring his bicycle into the elevator with him. They were yelling at him (not speaking nicely) and expected him to carry it up a flight of stairs. Apparently the next week there was a sign stating riders with bicycles should use the elevator and not the stairs.

    My friend was stuck at the BART station and couldn’t get out. Why? Because his ticket was short by $0.15. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but he didn’t have any cash with him that day and BART doesn’t have any machines that accept ATM inside the station (they only have ATM machines outside the gates). BART police were threatening him with a ticket and becoming belligerent until a good samaritan handed my friend some money.

    But on the other hand I’ve had friends that haven’t had any problems at all with BART or its cops. It just seems to me that the BART cops should make sure to follow their own rules, and attend some kind of customer service training. They are some of the rudest people I’ve ever heard of.

  4. I had a similar experiance. Purchased a ticket, displayed it and then got the old $25 ticket slapped on the windscreen. Wrote to the Black Hole in Huntington Beach to get the standard “YOU GOT TO PAY LETTER”. (I’m not sure the people at HB can either read or type a letter). I appealed and got a letter telling me I had a hearing date the day before I came back from Europe. The next level was a court hearing in Pleasanton. No-one from BART turned up, so I asuume not only do they have problems with telling the time but are also challenged when it comes to dates. The out come was I won my case by default and will be getting my money back.

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