Fare Evasion Prevention
Fare evasion costs BART between an estimated $15 million and $25 million each year. This is lost revenue that cannot be reinvested into improvements to the system for all riders.
NEW FARE GATE PLAN
As part of our efforts to address fare evasion, on May 30, 2020, a newly designed accessible fare gate prototype was installed at the Richmond Station to test BART’s next generation of faregates. The new design is the result of months of innovation by BART staff that has reduced the cost estimate for replacing 600 fare gates across the system from $150 to $90 million, a 40% savings. A presentation was given to the Board of Directors on June 11, 2020.
This is a picture of the fare gate installed at the Richmond Station:
At the September 26, 2019 meeting, the BART board voted unanimously to adopt the swing style barrier gate design as the standard design for new fare gates. You can see the presentation here
The approval directs staff to adopt this design and update the BART Facilities Standards to ensure that future station modernizations and extension stations incorporate swing style barrier fare gates.
It also directs staff to develop a funding strategy, including phasing options, for replacement of existing fare gates with new swing style barrier gates.
FARE GATE MODIFICATIONS
A pilot that modified the fare gates at Richmond Station with upper flaps to create double leaf, stacked fare gates started in June 2019 and will be closely monitored as decisions are made regarding modifications moving forward. In July 2019, BART began a pilot to reduce jumping at Fruitvale Station that involved adding a barrier that pops-up from the fare gate leaves when they close. This prototype was removed in September 2019 after staff determined they created an unreasonable maintenance burden. Visit our Fare Gate Modifications project page for more information.
In Winter 2018, BART retrofitted existing fare gates at the north end of the Embarcadero Station, as well as at the Pittsburg Center and Antioch Stations. The modifications increase the air pressure used to cinch the barrier closed, which increases the effort needed to force the barrier open. This pilot showed a reduction in forced openings of the fare gates and based on its success, BART is implementing the retrofits system wide. All arrays except the ADA gates are being modified.
We are stepping up our efforts through changes such as installing higher barriers and bringing elevators into the paid area, also called station hardening. Station hardening is changing infrastructure other than the fare gates to prevent fare evasion. Investments could include heightened barriers around paid areas, alarmed swing gates and exit doors, elevators moved into paid areas, configured fire alarm systems, digital camera network, video screens and modified fare gates.
BART station hardening efforts in FY20 are incorporated into many projects and programs throughout the District, using operating and capital funds. In FY20, $2.4 million of new and ongoing funds ($400,000 of new FY20 operating funds augments $600,000 of prior year parking revenue held in reserves and $1.3 million of capital staffing) will support station hardening projects, including raising railings and securing swing gates. Additionally, BART directs grant funds to station hardening, including federal formula funds for the fare gate modification program and often redirects existing engineering and maintenance staff to projects such as the fare gate cinch modification program as well as the camera upgrade program. BART’s Station Modernization Program also incorporates elements of station hardening in design, guided by the BART Facilities Standards. Six stations in the Station Modernization Program are spending or will spend a combined $16 million on station hardening elements. In addition, the $61 million Market Street Escalator Canopies project includes installing roll-up grilles at the street level, security cameras and handrail lighting. In summary, station hardening is a substantial, multi-year systemwide effort, leveraging new and existing operating and capital funds from a variety of sources into a wide range of projects.
The Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget, which began on July 1, 2018, included $1.2 million for the design and construction of station hardening improvements to make it more difficult for fare evaders to bypass fare gates.
The Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget devoted $2.7 million to a strategy of enforcement, station hardening and education to limit fare evasion and assure our riders that we value their patronage. That strategy included hiring six Community Service Officers and one Police Administrative Specialist, raising barriers and service gates to a uniform height of 60 inches. It also included eliminating all non-fare gates other than one immediately next to each station agent booth while ensuring fare gates open to provide emergency egress capacity.
By July 1, 2019, BART will have completed station hardening efforts at 17 stations with a schedule to complete another 10 stations by July of 2020.
PROOF OF PAYMENT
Proof of payment began on January 1, 2018 with a two-month warning period for first time violators. The grace period ended in early March 2018 when fare inspectors began issuing tickets. Fare inspectors increase police presence on trains and in stations. They deter fare evasion, encourage compliance over time and promote customer equity sending the message that everyone must pay their fair share.
The program started with six Community Resource Officers who received training, particularly on de-escalation and on using fare checking devices. On September 27, 2018, the BART board voted to hire an additional 10 fare inspectors with 8 of them dedicated to nights and weekends. BART Police hired and deployed a total of 15 new Community Service Officers in 2019. Fare inspections progress within paid areas from one person to the next without inspectors skipping anyone, whether in a station or on a train. They have no discretion regarding citations. All interactions are recorded with body worn cameras. Citations are civil with a fine of $55 for juveniles and $75 for adults. Community service is also an option.
BART’s Office of the Independent Police Auditor regularly reviews a random sampling of the fare inspectors' body worn camera footage.