San Francisco Airport (SFO) is facing a “surge” of transients who are often using the facility as a shelter, according to local media.
Airport officers and managers are reporting a tripling in contacts with homeless people over the past two years at SFO, where some public trains (BART) make their final stops for the night.
Figures obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle indicate that officials placed 1,139 calls regarding encounters with homeless at SFO in February alone, averaging to roughly 40 per day – a spike from approximately 12 daily in 2017.
“Bottom line, this particular arrival at night is an area of focus as a disproportionate number of riders on trains are homeless,” said SFO spokesman Doug Yakel. “We’ve been working with BART to examine where trains terminate for the night, and we’ve also requested that BART sweep trains for homeless before they arrive at SFO.”
Riders are reportedly given bus fare if they are discovered asleep on late trains arriving at SFO, but Yakel asserts that this measure is hardly mitigating the issue.
“The notion of pulling them off a BART train and putting them on a SamTrans bus is not solving the problem, it’s just shifting it,” he said.
BART is reportedly facing an annual fare evasion deficit of $25 million per year, and “can’t ticket fare evaders at the six San Mateo County stations — the airport, Daly City, Colma, South San Francisco, San Bruno and Millbrae — because the county opted out of the system back in 1961. The transit agency cannot enforce internal ordinances south of San Francisco,” the Chronicle reports.
“In dozens of official complaints to BART involving the SFO line dating back a year, also obtained through a public records request, irate passengers complained about a range of things relating to apparent homeless people, including foul smells, drug use, masturbation and panhandling. One woman said in March she had watched a woman shoot up drugs on a platform bench with the help of friends after leaving SFO.”
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Cornelius Rupert T.
Cornelius Rupert T.