Los Angeles’ Metro has begun installing turnstile fare gates at four Metro Red Line subway stations and will monitor progress to make sure passenger traffic moves smoothly while still achieving the goals of preventing fare evasion and improving transit station security.
By the end of August, turnstile fare gates will have been installed at
Normandie, Union Station, Westlake and Pershing Square subway stations.
Staff will assist passengers as they get accustomed to the gates, which
will be set to “free spin” until patrons become familiar with entering
stations through a physical barrier.
The barrier system is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities
Act. During the period of equipment installation, the special ADA gates
will remain open to permit disabled persons and patron-operated devices
such as wheelchairs, strollers, walkers and bicycles to have clear
access to the paid areas of the stations. Separate emergency access
gates also are being installed to comply with fire-life safety
Metro CEO Art Leahy, this fall, will report monitoring results of the
limited installations to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan
Transportation Authority Board of Directors. If all goes well, Metro
will proceed with installing a total of 379 fare gates in all stations
on the subway and Metro Green Line and key light rail stations on the
Metro Blue and Gold lines. Installation is intended to be completed in
six to eight months in early 2010.
Metro is the only subway operator in the country to operate a
barrier-free “proof of payment” system where fares are randomly checked
by civilian fare inspectors and Sheriff’s officers. The agency
estimates it loses about $5 million per year due to fare evasion.
Overall, Metro has found a 6 percent fare evasion rate across its rail
Besides preventing fare evasion, the turnstile gates also are a key
component of Metro’s emerging regional Transit Access Pass, or TAP
program. TAP is an automated, electronic regional fare collection
system that will create a multi-modal, multi-operator fare system that,
eventually, will allow for seamless travel for L.A. County transit
During the gating installation period, current paper fare media will
continue transitioning to TAP smart cards. One-way paper tickets sold
at the ticket vending machines in the stations will be replaced with
paper, limited-use smart cards to enable cash riders who don’t have
regular TAP cards to enter and exit through the fare gates.
Security at Metro Rail stations will be augmented as part of the
program. Additional video surveillance cameras will be installed at all
gate entrances in the future. Key stations will include the fixed
presence of Metro security who will be on-hand to respond to situations
or assist patrons where needed.