Fare evasion continues on BART even with new gates

ByLeslie Brinkley via KGO logo
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
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BART's transit security advisory committee discussed safety concerns about the pilot program.

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- Fare evasion is a growing problem for BART. A few weeks ago ABC7 News looked at the new double barrier fare gates they are testing out at the Richmond Station. On Tuesday, BART's transit security advisory committee discussed safety concerns about the pilot program.

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The double barrier gates are BART's newest way to undermine fare evaders. Standing by the new double barrier gates in Richmond for only 10 minutes ABC7 News saw seven people sneak through. Some more creative evaders "did the Limbo" under the gates, not caring that the cameras were rolling. Others slipped behind legitimate fare-paying customers and passed through undetected.

At the transit security advisory committee meeting Tuesday, Tim Chan, a BART planner, said, "We are trying to find what is that perfect time for the gates to be open to allow safe passage through but also discourage piggybacking right behind it. So there's still some tinkering that needs to be done."

But a wheelchair-bound committee member brought up another topic. Janet Abelson referred to ABC7 News coverage of the gates several weeks ago when disabled riders and those with strollers expressed fear the new higher gates would slam shut on them.

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She said, "It's not a lot of fun to get caught by a fare gate. I have and it hurts. I'm not going to sue the district but somebody else will and that will easily eat up all the money you think you are saving."

BART says they have had no problems with the Richmond fare gates so far, saying they are using video to closely monitor all the gates that are part of this pilot program to find ways to stop fare evaders.

Chan said, "It's whack-a-mole. You can stop it and address it in one area and then it pops up and expands in other areas."

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Later this summer Bart will try out the same double barrier gates with an additional pop-up feature at the Fruitvale station. Eventually, they'll make a $200 million investment in whatever design seems to work best.