Riders concerned about new BART gates in Richmond

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- BART began testing out some new gates this week to stop fare evaders at the Richmond station, but some disabled riders and even those with strollers say they are having some difficulties with them.

The stacked double gates are about four-feet tall. Most passengers had no problem swiping their BART passes and getting through the gates before they closed, but one woman on her way to Oakland Children's Hospital with her baby in a stroller found the gate closed in on the stroller.

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"It just closed like instantly. Seriously. My baby could've gotten smashed up there," said Tynisha Wilker.

Several wheelchair-bound riders have taken to social media to complain.

Janet Abelson clutched her head as she said she worries about the gate striking her in the head.

"I think what they are trying to do is keep out the fare evaders. I believe that. But the impact of it is to keep people in wheelchairs out," Abelson said.

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BART says a safety engineer approved the design that has the gates closing with 40 percent reduced pressure, and any interruption will trigger all the barriers to stop.

BART issued a statement that said "to date this design has not caused any injuries and we have reviewed camera footage and can confirm no one has had the top barrier clamp down on them."

The experimental gates would target fare evaders that cost BART tens of millions in lost revenue every year.

Will the new ones work? More are being installed at the Richmond BART station and later this summer BART will test out a different design at the Fruitvale station before decisions are made about what to install system-wide.
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