BART's new fare evasion gates difficult to access for people with disabilities

ByLiz Kreutz KGO logo
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
BART's new fare evasion gates difficult to access for disabled riders
One disabled BART rider shares her challenges using the public transportation service, especially with its new fare evasion gates.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Fare evasion costs about $25 million a year. But changing the fare gates comes with their own, unintended costs and consequences.

Jade Theriault is a long time BART rider who is quadriplegic. She says that changes to stop fare evasion at stations have also made some stations less accessible for people with disabilities.

"I understand what the design is doing, but it's created some accessibility barriers in the process," she told ABC7 News.

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Theriault laid out her concerns in an open letter to BART that she posted on her Facebook page.

"These new barriers have compromised my safety and job security," she wrote. "Please consider remodeling so as not to discriminate against disabled people."

Theriault said she new emergency gates are larger and heavier than the previous ones. They're now often locked, and if an agent isn't there she will get stuck unable to get out.

"If there's no agent and the gate is locked, I'm trapped in this weirdly enclosed area," she explained.

BART General Manager Bob Powers recently met with riders who have disabilities during a listening tour.

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A BART spokesperson says they are in the process of reaching out to Theriault. They would like to meet with her in person and they plan to provide her with a 24/7 number to call where a remote agent would be able to open the gates.

"We want BART to be available and accessible to everybody," Powers said.

Theriault believes more staffing and training could help. She wants BART to be aware that there are challenges that come with these new changes.

"Disabled people exist, we are everywhere," she said, "And we're going to start making a stink about it."

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