New BART gate prototypes tested at Oakland's Fruitvale station in hopes they deter fare evaders

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- BART says they are on the defense when it comes to battling fare evaders, which cost the system between $15 million and $20 million a year in lost revenue. That's money that could be going toward making the rider experience better. So they're taking measures to deter riders who do not pay, including making alterations to the current fare gates.

Even while reporting on the epidemic of BART fare evaders, our interview was temporarily interrupted when a woman nonchalantly and deftly hopped over the fare gates.

"Was that a jumper?" asked BART spokesperson Anna Duckworth, who was turned away from the gates.

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When we nodded to say "yes" she said matter-of-factly, "That's what I'm talking about."

This was the exact reason why BART has installed pop-up barrier prototypes at the Fruitvale station in Oakland. The metal extensions are about 4 inches high and are meant to deter riders from jumping over.

Those who may be intimidated by the blade-like shape of the pop-up can be rest assured knowing BART says they are not sharp and they don't have any reports of injuries because of any gates.

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These pop-ups are just the beginning. Just last month, BART introduced stacked fare gates at the Richmond station. Duckworth says riders have expressed some intimidation about how to use the gates. The agency plans to gather information over the coming months on the effectiveness of these new gate styles and present the findings to the board later this fall.

"We don't know what, if anything, will be rolled out systemwide right now, but we want to try different methods." says Duckworth.

Some other options include the stronger fare gates already installed at four stations in San Francisco and two in the East Bay that can't be pried open as easily.

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