The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) began installing turnstile fare gates at four Metro Red Line subway stations and said it will monitor progress to make sure passenger traffic moves smoothly while still achieving the goals of preventing fare evasion and improving transit station security.
By the end of August, the turnstile fare gates will be installed at four stations, and L.A. Metro staff will assist passengers as they get accustomed to the gates, which will be set to "free spin" until patrons become familiar with entering stations through a physical barrier.
The barrier system is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). During the period of equipment installation, the special ADA gates will remain open to permit disabled persons and patron-operated devices such as wheelchairs, strollers, walkers and bicycles to have clear access to the paid areas of the stations. Separate emergency access gates also are being installed to comply with fire-life safety regulations.
L.A. Metro CEO Art Leahy will report monitoring results of the limited installations to the Board of Directors this fall. If all goes well, the agency will proceed with installing a total of 379 fare gates in all stations on the subway and Metro Green Line and key light rail stations on the Metro Blue and Gold lines. Installation is intended to be completed in six to eight months in early 2010.
Metro is the only subway operator in the country to operate a barrier-free "proof of payment" system where fares are randomly checked by civilian fare inspectors and Sheriff's officers. The agency estimates it loses about $5 million per year due to fare evasion. Overall, Metro has found a 6 percent fare evasion rate across its rail lines.