AC Transit parking trap

Sarai flew to Austin a couple weeks ago for SXSW, taking BART to the airport around 10:30am. I’m a nice guy and so I drove her to the BART station so she wouldn’t have to carry her bags the 3/4 mile or so walk from our apartment. I pulled up in front of the entrance to the station, wished her a good trip, and drove away. Elapsed time maybe one minute but probably closer to about 30 seconds. This morning in the mail I got a parking ticket from AC Transit for “Parking/stopping in a bus zone”, and the cop had written in “Driver dropped off a passenger”. The fine? $250. Fucking hell.

I did a little googling and found that AC Transit has a nice little racket going here. This post on the Capricious Commuter blog has a series of comments spanning 18 months from people who have gotten these tickets when dropping people off. It seems they’ve been staking out the bus zones at a number of east bay BART stops and photographing and ticketing anyone who stops at them, no matter how briefly. I’m sure these tickets, at $250 a pop, provide a nice revenue stream for the county. Maybe that’s why the designated passenger loading zone is so far away and difficult to see.

Our local station, MacArthur BART in Oakland, has a one-way travel lane that runs along the front of the station. Most of this is a red curb bus zone, including the area directly in front of the station entrance. Only after going back there today to take some pictures did I realize that there is actually a passenger loading zone, 50 yards (I measured it) down from the entrance and nearly impossible to see when there are buses and vans parked along the curb. They sure don’t call any attention to it, but I guess that would cut into the revenue stream from the tickets. This isn’t technically entrapment, of course, and this arrangement may not even be intentional, but they’re certainly taking advantage of the ignorance of drivers in order to write these outrageous tickets. If keeping the bus zone clear were the primary concern a simple sign directing people to the passenger zone would probably work wonders.

The front of MacArthur BART, showing the station entrance and passenger zone The area to the right of this photo is the station entrance. The passenger zone is 50 yards down at the far left of the image.

View of the bus zone, taken from where I stopped This picture was taken from the spot where I stopped. The first sign indicating a passenger zone is way down by that pickup truck, and almost invisible from the station entrance due to all the other signs and lightposts in the way. It’s completely hidden when there’s a bus or van parked along here.

My first thought was to fight it, as it would be easy to demonstrate just how invisible this passenger zone is from the position of a car entering the lane in front of the station. But then I realized that I’d be in an Alameda county courthouse arguing against what’s obviously a big money maker for the county so my chances of getting it thrown out are basically nil. It seems others have tried and failed as well.

I was in front of the BART station for about an hour today taking pictures and saw at least a dozen cars stop briefly in this bus zone to drop off or pick up passengers. I warned a few people who were sitting there waiting about the fines and none of them had any idea that there even is a passenger zone at this station. Luckily for them, AC Transit didn’t seem to have the station staked out this morning.

AC Transit van blocking an AC Transit bus

I guess the rules don’t apply to them though, as demonstrated here by this unattended AC Transit SUV parked in a red zone on 40th st. and blocking one of their own buses.


Thomas Johnson says:

The same thing happened to me the other day, but while dropping someone off at the Bart station on Broadway. I was on the street running parallel to Broadway Bart station, and stopped just to let my friend out. It was a bit dark, I could not even tell the color of the curb, and was concerned with the safety of my friend and I wanted to drop them off right in front. Regardless I saw nothing wrong with stopping to let them out, there were no cars around except for one cop, apparently waiting for me like a spider and I was the prey. I Put my emergency lights on, dropped them off, left. 15 seconds = a $250 ticket? Not to mention there were no buses or traffic anywhere at this time of day and I was only trying to do the right thing by pulling over instead of letting my passenger out in the middle of the street, even though there was no traffic. This just seems fundamentally unfair, I have no idea where the “passenger loading zone is” but frankly I think they should not ticket you so hard for letting someone out of your car when there is absolutely no traffic around, no buses, its dark, 10 seconds, etc etc. Thanks for your site it is great to know I am not the only one. Too bad almost everyone you would talk to would do the same thing we both did to get the ticket. What a great source of revenue, and not one person who would behave differently than us, an endless supply of people to screw!

Thomas Johnson says:

P.S. When I go to Macarthur Bart I usually pull up and I am aware of the “passenger loading zone”. On Broadway it is a small Bart terminal though, with much less traffic and buses. I primarily pull up always at Macarthur becuase we all know (me and my friends) that “the buses get mad” if they pull up and you are there. Even being aware of these situations, and pulling up at Macarthur, I never knew about the chance of a ticket for dropping someone off. I still got a ticket and I am the most courteous driver to these buses and while I am pulled over dropping off / picking up. Its ridiculous, anyone would have done the same thing as me, I guess we are all guilty for doing something that there is obviously nothing wrong with, but $250, thats robbery! We were just letting someone out, it should be another class of ticket or a warning! With all of the crime in Oakland: rape, murder, robbery, theft, etc. they seem to do NOTHING about! How pathetic is it that these cops harass good citizens like us for this revenue when the city is plagued with real problems they don’t seem to be fixing.

K. Fischer says:

This is f*ed up. I just got one of these bullsh*t tickets in the mail. $250 for stopping on the side of the road. I’m still looking into my options but what a sick display of corruption. I have a high respect for law enforcement and the difficult job they do but this feels like entrapment and theft.

Jeff says:

AC Transit has a similar thing in front of De Anza High School in El Sobrante, which lost its parking and drop-off areas due to construction. Nearly an entire block is a red zone for two adjacent bus stops, which almost never have a bus. Drop off/pick-up for hundreds of students is two car lengths, otherwise walk 2 blocks with a heavy backpack and arms full of books. For awhile the sheriff’s department had an officer out every morning, at the request of AC Transit, filling his quotas with those $250 tickets, given to parents dropping off kids for 30 seconds. After complaints, that’s cooled down, but those huge unused red zones are still there.

Sheri says:

I got one of these tickets today as well. I was dropping off a friend at work at Broadway and 14th Street. I stopped momentarily (maybe 10 seconds?) while she got out of the car. There was a red light in front of me, and I was technically in the right turn lane. I could have been turning right, but the cop took advantage of the situation and wrote me a ticket anyway. He told me to wait, and I did, but I have to say I was tempted to just take off. He probably got a picture of the license, so I guess it is just better to know now. Anyhoo, the following was our discussion:

I asked if he was actually giving me a ticket, and he said yes. I told him, rightfully so, that that was completely immoral. The laws (which aren’t based on morality, I know) were not written to give citations to people dropping others off. They are meant for people who are actually stopped or parked, whether they are in the car or not. He told me that it had nothing to do with morality, smirk on face. I looked him in the eye, and told him that although he feels like he has this immense power over me, and can do whatever he wants, he actually is a shitty person, and is below me. I then walked away, hands up, and told him not to shoot me, “I AM UNARMED“. I then told him that he can feel good about himself, but in reality, I actually make enough to pay this shitty fine! I may still be the loser in this senario, but I shamed him on a busy street, and I feel fantastic! Had to share this with somebody…

Gisu says:

I received a ticket in the mail yesterday as well. I also stopped in a red zone for about, maybe 30 seconds? maybe less. This was in front of the lake merrit bart station, where theres nothing but red zones surrounding the whole square block. Where do they expect me to drop someone off at Bart???? 2 blocks away? might as well walk to work, right? or hitch hike? Unbelievable!!!!! $250 for this??? I’m going to contest this, and I am going to print out this whole page and bring it to court with me. This is ridiculous how we are being taken advantage. Becareful around bart stations, they will take pictures of your car and ticket you instantly.

Balwant says:

It happened to me on march 5th 2009. The sign is not visible at all. I requested court date but they won’t give it to because i didn’t pay the fine upfront. Can we stop it somehow ?

Anna says:

AH this happened to me this morning! I wish I had read this therapeutic website BEFORE those jerks stole $250 from me. I know that it’s practically a guaranteed waste of my time, but I want to contest it anyway. Does anybody have suggestions re: how to do that? What should I say? I couldn’t have been more than a foot or so from the white loading zone, which is what I’m going to try and use. AH! I am so pissed off. I was also dropping off my little sister, and my parents don’t want her walking that far on her own…is this too much of a probe in the dark?

balwant says:

It is a total fraud by AC Sherif’s department. You can try contesting this but they will decide for you. There is no justice. No matter what you say they will not listen. There is no court involved here it is just some clerk at Sherif department. That clerk is not authorized to lose $250 they got from you. It looks like they have a procedure but it is all designed to make fool out of you. I sent them pictures of the street i got ticket at. There is no fucking sign there. The hearing clerk told me that if there is no “parking meter” it means you can not park there. I guess they do not care if there is “On Parking” sign or not”.

First of all $250 for a parking ticket is not justified. Parking ticket should not be more than 100 bucks. Secondly you got to pay it. There is no other alternative.

If you still want to contest it, you can try. The other option you have to pay them and then file a small courts claim. This small court claim information is also available on the sherif department website under AC ticket.

You can see pictures of my evidence at this site, it is clear to anybody but not to them.

Benny saraan says:

Are you in AC Transit parking trap ? This is a tip to tackle it.

This trap has two steps to deal with before you can contest it in real court. These two steps are torture on you to give up and pay.
First step is : clerical review
Second step is: Administrative review.

Do not waste your energy to think much during these two steps. Just pay them or request fee waiver in your very first letter to them. Do not try to call them, it is there to make you more frustrated and give up. It is so designed.

No matter what you say or show the output is the same during these two steps. And it denial. Wait for final denial letter after administative review. You need this letter to file appeal with the court.
After the final review letter the real contest starts. Take that letter to nearest superior court in alameda county. There are five or six courts in alameda county. I guess you do not need to go there. You can download forms from internet and mail them with $25 filing fee to superior court clerk. Also read instructions on the forms. I will find and paste a link here.

In the court show your eveidence or your side. Hopefully you will get the real judgement. And this judgement will be a blow to these trapper. You may not want to go through these hassle but you should because this is a only way to show them that there is law and order in this country.

Sam says:

Sam racket to me as well yesterday @ Rockridge. The kind officer sure implied he was doing me a huge favor by only issuing me a ‘parking’ ticket. Thanks man – glad I can help your cash strapped agency!

Sam says:

First off, thanks for this great page!
Second… When I file my written “initial review” do I have to pay the $250 at that time as well? They definitely leave that information out and in reading some of the comments above it seems like that might disqualify certain ‘rights’ to contest it down the road… Any tips here?


Gina says:

They say you must pay it without telling you your options. But there is a option. You can send written note with your intial review letter that you are unable to pay it. Then they will send you a form to fill up. You can also try calling them, I tried calling it but number will put you on hold for ever or it will be busy etc.

Phil Jackson says:

Same thing happened to me at the Lake Merritt BART station on Sunday 8/16/09. I dropped my wife off at BART station at 9:50 PM, I was stopped for about 30 seconds. As I started to pull away 2 sheriffs car pulled in behind me with lights flashing. I was given a $250 ticket for stopping/parking at a bus stop. What is most ridiculous is that the cop sat there blocking the bus stop for over 10 minutes while he ran a “wants & warrants” check on me. In that time not one vehicle (including busses) passed by.

David M says:

I just dropped a friend off in front of McArther bart and got this stupid BS $250 ticket. There was absolutely no sign that said no passenger drop off along the entire curb on 40th st. There was just AC transit bus signs and NOT A DAMN BUS in sight! This is total crap and a waste of my time as a tax payer and a waste of sheriff resources.

WHO CAN I SPEAK TO ABOUT THIS? Since this is AC Transit, is there even a mayor or city council that can weigh in on this BS? And the closest “legal drop off” is 2 blocks away. This is total crap. At the very least there should be an explicit sign forbidding drop offs.

drummond says:

August 31st, 7:45am. Dropped a friend off at the Rockridge BART station which took under 15 seconds. We pulled up behind a bus at a red curb and as we pulled away a cop coming from the opposite direction pulled us over and gave us a nice $250 ticket. Great way to start the day, I already have a letter in the mail.

Michelle says:

I am a producer with the local TV station and am working on a story about this. If anyone is willing to be interviewed for this piece, please contact me at

Hawk says:

What we need to do is start a letter writing/email campaign to our state legislators to get a law passed to limit the amount of the fine to a reasonable amount. And to prohibit the police from issuing a ticket unless the vehicle is actually obstructing traffic including buses. $250.00 ($262.50 if paid online). is totally out of proportion to the infraction.

The most powerful tool for taxpayers when contacting representatives is still a one-page handwritten letter. However, if you do not have time to write, a call or a brief e-mail message will still have a great impact. here is a link to find state legislators contact information.

HHM says:

I also received one of these “sneak attack” tix on Broadway and 20th at the BART station. I am contesting it on the basis that the curb was actually NOT red. The officer even wrote this on the ticket. Also, a “no parking” sign is NOT the same as a “No Stopping” sign and does not indicate a “no loading” zone. I believe it is entrappment and only takes advantage of people who are trying to promote public transportation by dropping people off at BART. If Oakland is so concerned with bus stops staying clear, they need to spend the money on actually painting the curb and putting up a clear “No Stopping/Loading” Sign.

Sheriff says:

my friend, even oakland court clerks are are partners. If you contest they won’t send you notice to appear in court and you will end up wasting your time. It happens to people who tried to contest it.

MadInOakland says:

My boyfriend dropped me off at the Oakland/Coliseum BART station on Friday, Sept 4, 2009. We never have been to that station and we were very close to the station entrance- a bus was blocking the entrance (driver on break, I think). We were stopped maybe 15 seconds at the most.

As my boyfriend was getting his $250 ticket from the Alameda County Sheriff Dept, the officer stopped another driver to give him a ticket as well. The officer also told my boyfriend that he was “only getting a parking ticket” and when the officer gave him the ticket, he folded it so the $250 rate wouldn’t be seen.

I looked around- this officer gave out 3 tickets in the space of 5 minutes to different drivers. Obviously, something needs to be done, It is obvious that there either is not a passenger zone in front of the station entrance or it isn’t clearly marked.

This is definitely a cash cow for the cash-strapped county, but this needs to hit the media to warn passengers about this because this has been going on since at least 2006, based on internet searches.

Phil says:

In all fairness it’s not the Oakland cops that are handing out these tickets, it’s Alameda County Transit Cops (Alameda County Sheriff Dept). I’ve dropped my wife off at the 12th St BART many times with Oakland cops there and they’ve never bothered anyone that I have seen, It’s only the Sheriff deputies in their capacity as AC transit cops. If I was an Oakland cop (or in any city in Alameda county). These tickets aren’t about traffic control or public safety, their sole purpose is to make money for AC Transit.

I’d be ticked off because these jerks are giving all cops a bad rep. it kind of makes me wonder how much of a bonus these guys get for getting their quota.

I agree with Hawk (See post above), if we need to raise hell with our state reps to get the law changed to set the fines at reasonable amount and prohibit these jerks from writing tickets unless someone is actually obstructing traffic (or buses).

Sam says:

Word around the camp-fire is that they issue around 10,000 of these tickets a year. $2.5M is a pretty good racket!
That’s about 30 victims EVERY day!

Media Attention Needed says:

5.) KQED
2601 Mariposa Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
tel: (415) 864-2000

There are few more that you can find by searching google for local channels. thanks

Jason Grigsby says:

I flew in from out of town and went to pick someone up from the Coliseum BART. I was driving an unfamiliar car, in an unfamiliar city, and the signs were obscured by parked buses.

Instant $250 ticket when our friend hopped in the car. Crazy.

The appeals process essentially would require me to be in town for a court date. There’s no realistic way to contest it for those from out of town. :-(

Andrew says:

I’m not even involved in the issue, but I recently heard about this enforcement “trap” on a TV news broadcast and decided to look into it. They actually had an AC Transit spokesperson who had the flamin’ gall to compare the “blocking a bus zone” the equivalent of parking in front of a fire station or hospital emergency zone. Hunh?? really?! I wasn’t aware that AC bus drivers at BART stations were so involved in such critical life saving work.

Also, they deny that it is being done for revenue generation, and yet…. since the the offending drivers are still in their (running) motor vehicle (NOT PARKING, but STANDING), wouldn’t the public safety officer simply informing them that they were in a bus zone and moving along please, be sufficient? yet, they write a $250 citation while continuing to block the bus zone. Compliance or safety is obviously not the priority… the ticket and revenue obviously is.

I am not at all advocating that people scoff at the law and block bus zones. All I’m saying is, come on, let’s be a little “just” here and consider the “spirit” of the ordinance. If that many people are getting “caught” because the signage is not clear, rather than enjoy the fruits of a legal loophole, AC transit needs to make it more obvious. Or use those two sheriffs assigned to this ticket detail (nevermind my opinion of two whole sheriffs salaries keeping us “safe” from bus zone violators) to direct passenger loading/unloading to the proper area as they do at the airport.

BART/AC Transit need to ask themselves… does this sort of officious behaviour “promote” public transportation ridership and good public relations? or not. Hmmmm.

Hawk says:

Andrew the number of Sheriffs deputies is 20 NOT 2, what is the salary of 20 deputies I wonder. One other thing I would like to point out is that a many of these tickets are written by deputies that park and take pictures of license plates then mail the ticket to the alleged offenders. This allows them to write even more tickets than if they actually had personal contact with the driver. So if anyone believes that this is not primarily a money making scheme for AC Transit I have a nice bridge for sale real cheap.

John Brad says:

Do you know if civil law suit is an option here ? I do believe it is illegal and it should be brought to the court. Do anyone know any attorney or organisation who can step into this?

Billy says:

Greetings fellow law breakers. Yes, I got a $250 fine in mail yesterday. The offense was the day before. And unfortunately, I stopped to let out a passenger yesterday as well, before I got my mail. So I guess I can expect another fine in the mail today or tomorrow. Like many others, I thought the red was for no parking but passenger unloading was okay. The code does state no parking or stopping for red zones. So I have learned an expensive lesson. But I do have a little side question about this. Most post offices have mailboxes, next to the curb with convenient mail slots facing the street. I thought they were that way so you could drive your car up and drop off a letter. Guess what, the curb is red. So is this the next sting? So, for those that claim the law is clear, think again. And if AC Transit actually wanted compliance and safety, why do they resist a simple warning sign? I will practice my letter delivery while I keep the car moving, and why not ask your passenger to simply tuck and roll as they attempt to exit while you keep the car moving. I have a feeling that is probably illegal as well. I’m kidding of course.

Eric says:

I sent my sob story to ABC’s 7 On Your Side:

If enough of us offenders write in, maybe their reporters will give the Sheriff’s Office a hard time.

Kenny says:

I haven’t read all the comments here yet but I WILL get to it. In the meantime, I’m another “victim” of this scam. 2 weeks ago I was picking up a friend at BART (8th & Oak). There were no parking spaces open & he wasn’t there yet so I pulled into the BART parking lot and noted parking available IF you note the space number then go into the station and pay for the space. OK, I went in the station and found you have to actually enter the turnstiles (with a BART ticket) to do that. The ticket agent told me “no” its only if you actually ride BART… DUH! the person I was picking up was riding BART. All right, so 9/28/09 937am I was picking up a different friend at the same station. He was on the corner of 8th. when I arrived… no bus in the bus zone, no bus in sight but I rolled down the window and told him I was pulling forward of the bus stop so as not to get a ticket…. guess what?? Yeah, got it in the mail today.. I too will be writing to a lot of agencies and folks about this.

donation gone wrong says:

I got one of these tickets for making a donation to the Slow Food Festival in August. I stopped to ask where to drop off the donation and whammo, got a ticket for asking. I’ve already sent a letter for administrative review and it was denied. Now it looks like I can ask for a hearing, which will probably get me no where. Do these tickets have to be paid? What happens if they aren’t??

bill says:

If you do not pay them, there is nothing they can do except scaring you to block your registration renewel. Once you get final denial letter from them, take that letter to the nearest court in alameda county and ask for court hearing date. They will ask you to provide denial letter and 25 bucks. You will have court date, after court date if you were found responsible then you must pay them.

Andrew says:

I wrote to two newspapers and the five local major TV stations which have “action lines” informing them of this perversion of justice. I mean, it would be fair enough in my mind if everyone were given their constitutional recourse to have their speedy, hassle free, fine-free day in court, but all of this dealing with the administration of the very agency that cited you… and paying the fine up front (basically an admission of guilt)… sounds very slippery. That’s on top of the questionable (as in “unclear” and “not obvious”) nature of the infraction to begin with. I am not convinced that motorists STOPPING (not parking mind you) in an empty bus zone is a public safety issue warranting how many taxpayer funded personnel hours of enforcement (?).

What originally caught my attention about this story and irritated me was that AC Transit moron, wish I caught his name, who was comparing their precious bus zone to “parking in front of a fire station”. The information given on the news story was 2 Sheriffs Deputies assigned to this duty (i.e. staffing this ticket trap). Maybe 20 different Deputies have worked the detail, but even with shift overlap, there aren’t 20 patrol Deputies total on duty at one time.

Looking at the backdates of these posts, this has obviously been going on for a long time…. at least a year now. Nothing seems to have changed. I am going to patiently wait to see if any of the networks or newspapers respond, exhaust all reasonable legal remedies as all good law-abiding citizens who seek to comply with the spirit of the law should.

Andrew says:

BTW…. could someone post what the CVC number of the infraction is please? That would help with my research.

While we’re at it… post the badge numbers of the citing Deputies also… they should be on the ticket. Let’s get to know who and how many we’re dealing with. Note: it is also your right as a citizen to file complaints. If you can’t complain in court, you can fill up these individual Deputies’ files with citizen complaints. No need to lie, just state the facts like you are doing here on this forum. “Tried to explain to Deputy ____ that I was lost and unfamiliar with Oakland BART, pulled over to ask directions, but gave me a citation anyway.” or “Hard to see the Bus Zone in the low light. No AC buses in sight. Deputy _____ issued a citation anyway, while blocking the bus zone.” Create a bureaucratic nightmare for them.

If it’s a camera ticket, did they send you a print of the picture file? Does it have both your plates and your face as well as a view of the bus zone? If they didn’t, why not just deny that it was you driving, or that you weren’t even there… then they’d have to give you a court date or dismiss the citation. Actually it occurs to me that if their evidence against you is merely a still camera shot… well why not argue that you were moving the entire time… LOL. Even the passengers were bailing out…LOL.

If this is (obviously) a profit making loophole for them and enough people are really outraged, let’s legally, safely and hopefully humourously make it unprofitable.

Lisa says:

Guess What? They’re also targeting defunct, no longer in service bus stops! I got a whopper ticket for parking at the Dunn Trail head (Redwood Regional Parks) at the corner of Skyline where it makes a sharp right turn heading towards Chabot Space and Science Center. A small sign for Route 53 is posted there, no red zone…I didn’t even see the sign but upon my return, I did see the yellow ticket on my windshield. Come to find out, Route 53 has not gone that far up Joaquin Miller since 2003!! We’ll see how far I get fighting this one.

Joel says:

Here is the CVC Code 22500 i

Prohibited Stopping, Standing, or Parking

22500. No person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle whether attended or unattended, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a peace officer or official traffic control device, in any of the following places:
(a) Within an intersection, except adjacent to curbs as may be permitted by local ordinance.

(b) On a crosswalk, except that a bus engaged as a common carrier or a taxicab may stop in an unmarked crosswalk to load or unload passengers when authorized by the legislative body of any city pursuant to an ordinance.

© Between a safety zone and the adjacent right-hand curb or within the area between the zone and the curb as may be indicated by a sign or red paint on the curb, which sign or paint was erected or placed by local authorities pursuant to an ordinance.

(d) Within 15 feet of the driveway entrance to any fire station. This subdivision does not apply to any vehicle owned or operated by a fire department and clearly marked as a fire department vehicle.

(e) In front of a public or private driveway, except that a bus engaged as a common carrier, schoolbus, or a taxicab may stop to load or unload passengers when authorized by local authorities pursuant to an ordinance.

In unincorporated territory, where the entrance of a private road or driveway is not delineated by an opening in a curb or by other curb construction, so much of the surface of the ground as is paved, surfaced, or otherwise plainly marked by vehicle use as a private road or driveway entrance, shall constitute a driveway.

(f) On any portion of a sidewalk, or with the body of the vehicle extending over any portion of a sidewalk, except electric carts when authorized by local ordinance, as specified in Section 21114.5. Lights, mirrors, or devices that are required to be mounted upon a vehicle under this code may extend from the body of the vehicle over the sidewalk to a distance of not more than 10 inches.

(g) Alongside or opposite any street or highway excavation or obstruction when stopping, standing, or parking would obstruct traffic.

(h) On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped, parked, or standing at the curb or edge of a highway, except for a schoolbus when stopped to load or unload pupils in a business or residence district where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less.

(i) Except as provided under Section 22500.5, alongside curb space authorized for the loading and unloading of passengers of a bus engaged as a common carrier in local transportation when indicated by a sign or red paint on the curb erected or painted by local authorities pursuant to an ordinance.

(j) In a tube or tunnel, except vehicles of the authorities in charge, being used in the repair, maintenance, or inspection of the facility.

(k) Upon a bridge, except vehicles of the authorities in charge, being used in the repair, maintenance, or inspection of the facility, and except that buses engaged as a common carrier in local transportation may stop to load or unload passengers upon a bridge where sidewalks are provided, when authorized by local authorities pursuant to an ordinance, and except that local authorities pursuant to an ordinance or the Department of Transportation pursuant to an order, within their respective jurisdictions, may permit parking on bridges having sidewalks and shoulders of sufficient width to permit parking without interfering with the normal movement of traffic on the roadway. Local authorities, by ordinance or resolution, may permit parking on these bridges on state highways in their respective jurisdictions if the ordinance or resolution is first approved in writing by the Department of Transportation. Parking shall not be permitted unless there are signs in place, as may be necessary, to indicate the provisions of local ordinances or the order of the Department of Transportation.

(l) In front of or upon that portion of a curb that has been cut down, lowered, or constructed to provide wheelchair accessibility to the sidewalk.

Amended Sec. 66, Ch. 877, Stats. 1998. Effective January 1, 1999.
Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 640, Stats. 2002. Effective January 1, 2003.

Kenny says:

I’m going to try fighting the “bus zone” ticket I got at Lake Merritt BART on 9/28/09. I found 2 BART documents online showing and noting a white zone (Passenger Loading) at the north west corner of 8th. and Oak St. I personally know that there was indeed a white zone there a few years ago. It is not there now and I don’t know when it was removed. There is currently no white zone in the 2 blocks surrounding the BART station. Kinda ridiculous I think if you’re trying to promote public transit but make no provision to drop off potential transit passengers. I’ll post the results of my fight here. Also going to see if Stanley Roberts ( KRON TV-4 “People Behaving Badly”) is interested in the story. I figure the AC Transit / Sherriff’s Dept. thing is people acting as badly as any of the scofflaws he usually features.

Mike F says:

I got this ticket (not sure if it’s gone up or if people were rounding, but mine was $255) on 10/13/09 at 7:30am at the Rockridge BART station (Badge # 244, I think…handwritting is abismal). I always walk to and from the BART, but it was pouring out that morning, so I had my wife drop me off. She had dropped me off once before and no ticket. I did not know that it was illegal (is that even the right word?) to “stand” in this area, but I saw the rent-a-cops standing there and figured we should hurry-up, so I opening the door before we even came to a stop. 10 seconds tops. There were two deputies (or whatever) standing 20 feet from the curb, one with a camera taking a picture, and a third who approached the car and issued the ticket.

Even though my offense was miniscule and I didn’t exactly know it wasn’t allowed, I’m not even that upset that we got a ticket. But $255 is ridiculous. I read all these posts and didn’t have much hope of getting my ticket thrown out. I did go to AC Transit’s website (Customer Assistance -> Customer Feedback -> Make a Suggestion) and sent them my thoughts on their rediculously high fine. Also asked for a responce to further inconvenience them.

I like the tack of inundating them with complaints. We need a somewhat standardized way for us to complain often so that it takes up a minimal of our time and a maximum of theirs. Who wants to spearhead that initiative?

Tony says:

Call to Action – Let’s Petition and Speak Up at AC Transit and County Board Meetings

I’m thinking of gathering signatures for a petition and presenting it in person to the AC Transit Board and Alameda County Board of Supervisors (and the press for that matter) during their regular open meetings during the public comment time. The local news (NBC) already ran a report on this with no effect, so clearly more direct pressure is needed. I’m working full time and busy (like many of us here I’m sure), but if we all put in a little bit of time, I think we can correct this injustice. I also got a $255 ticket for dropping off a passenger for 10 seconds at Rockridge Bart at on 10/13/09.

If you are interested in helping or signing a petition, you can email me at wenhong2 (at) I can also create an email discussion group if it would be useful.

I think the next steps would be to agree on the petition wording and start gathering signatures. I think the wording would be something like urging the boards to change unreasonable enforcement policies in BART bus stop areas utilizing exorbitant fines for minimal infractions of even a few seconds. A better approach would be improved access to and signage for drop off loading zones, as well as better public communication on the issue.

The more people we have signing, going to meetings, and making a ruckus, the better the chance for success. Hard copy signature petitions carry much more weight than online petitions, but take a lot more effort obviously. So I’m not sure the best route.

I’ve also filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Dept (contracted by AC Transit for enforcement) requesting documents concerning guidance given by AC Transit. Others may want to file similar requests to see if we can get some more information about revenues, number of tickets given, and motivations that may not be serving the public’s interest.

Let’s do this.

Tony says:

Here’s the NBC report on the Bart Bus Citations:

Dave says:

I encourage everybody to email the AC Transit Board of Directors who are definitely aware of this problem and are seeing how long they can milk this cash cow. They know this ticketing is abusive:

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I’d like to know how to make these people better fear for their jobs.

Here is the email I sent them in August:

I would like to make you aware of a troubling practice occurring at AC Transit bus stops near BART stations.

BART patrons who are dropped off near the curbs at BART stations are being pulled over and being ticketed for this illegal drop off.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this: something illegal has been done and a fine is appropriately levied.

However, two additional considerations make this practice troubling:

1. The signage at the curb: Apart from the AC Transit bus stop sign, there is absolutely no additional signage that very simply states that passengers cannot be dropped off. Other curbs (not AC transit bus stops) near the BART stations explicitly state this, and consequently, you will not find cars dropping off passengers there. Please see the attached pictures to illustrate this point at the MacArthur BART station.

2. The amount of the ticket: These tickets are $250. This sum is excessive relative to more grievous traffic violations. Most people would have no problem paying a $30 or $40 ticket, AND more importantly, even with this smaller fine, they are not likely to pull over in the bus zone again, having learned their lesson– isn’t this the purpose of these tickets?

These tickets foster ill will between Alameda County residents and the Transit authority that serves them. There is a perception that they are unjustified because of the inadequate signage and the size of the fine. A number of forums and websites discuss this issue.

As you may have guessed, I am one of the recipients of these tickets. However, I AM NOT asking this board of directors for any personal favors (I will go through the typical appeals process like anybody else). I simply wish to point out that well-intentioned and law-abiding citizens are being issued these tickets and this practice hurts the relationship between AC Transit and the county residents.

I think this is an easy problem to fix: Simply add appropriate signage to the area and lower the size of these fines. Even one of these solutions would satisfy the issue.

Thank you for reading this concern

Needless to say, their response was generic and dismissive simply stating that they are legally in the right (which was not the point of my email)

Meagan says:

I received my ticket today in front of my childs school. The CVC code states as indicated by sign or red paint…. what kind of sign? sounds a little vegue to me, shouldn’t it say NO PARKING and be required to be painted red. How was I suppose to know what constitutes a BUS ZONE, is it before the bus stop sign or after it. THIS SUCKS!!!!!!!!!