New BART gates to be installed at 8 more stations for public safety, fare evasion prevention

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Friday, January 12, 2024
New BART fare gates to be installed at 8 locations for public safety
BART riders are about to see a lot more of those new fare gates that make it harder to avoid paying the fare. Here are the next few locations.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- BART riders are about to see a lot more of those new fare gates that make it harder to avoid paying the fare.

Zahra Ahmed just returned to the Bay Area and was on her way home. She uses BART a lot, but this was the first time she used BART's new fare gates.

"The gates opened. The gates closed. And there was just something about that. I didn't feel unsafe before. But I can imagine, late at night, if people are jumping the gates, if something happens on the platform, it just feels kind of like a free-for-all," Ahmed said.

The new fare gates were installed a few weeks ago at the West Oakland BART station. The goal is to stop fare evasion.

"We looked at equity. What is going to be the scenario? If we harden this station, does it make the next stations more difficult," said Sylvia Lamb, assistant general manager of BART.

RELATED: Are BART's new 7-foot fare gates working to deter evaders? Here's what agency says

For years, BART has struggled to keep fare evaders off trains. Two weeks ago, the agency began testing new 7-foot gates at the West Oakland station.

On Thursday, BART announced eight stations that will be getting the new gates next. Those include Antioch, Richmond and Fruitvale stations in the East Bay. Across the Bay, it will be SFO, Civic Center, Montgomery, Powell Street and 24th Street stations. BART said it picked the stations based, in part, on ridership.

"BART has been working for a several years on this project, to replace fair gates. It was important to do it right, so we get it right the first time," said Rebecca Saltzman, one of BART's board of directors.

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe believes the new gates add a sense of security.

"If you can't jump the gate, and someone who is not paying because you are there to create trouble or problems for passengers, I am excited that we will be able to create a new layer of protection for folks," Thorpe said.

RELATED: Will BART's new 7-foot gates help prevent fare evasion?

BART estimates that fare evasion costs them more than $15 million a year.

BART Board Director Debora Allen said the new gates are a "game changer," but not a 100% fix.

"This project was never designed at any point to stop 100% of fare evasion. This is a technology. It is a machine. It is the first layer of improvement," she said.

BART's board says it will cost $90 million dollars to replace all 700 fare gates, which they hope to finish by 2025. The work on these eight stations is set to begin in May.

"We showed a time-lapse video at the meeting today. And they literally got these fare gates -- the old ones - removed, and the new ones in place within two days," said BART spokesperson Anna Duckworth.

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