Fare Gate Modifications
Concerns about fare evasion have increased calls for new fare gates but there are no simple solutions. The estimated price tag to replace the system’s 600 fare gates is $115-$135 million and funding has not yet been identified.
BART held a public Board of Directors meeting in May where staff presented plans to test two fare gate modifications. Should BART decide to move forward on systemwide modifications, there is an estimated cost of $15- $25 million. These modifications, designed to deter the ability to push through or jump over fare gates, would cost significantly less than replacement. Modified gates could also provide an interim solution while funds are secured for a wholesale replacement program. The modified gate designs were reviewed by a safety engineering consultant.
You can see the May 23, 2019 presentation here
When making these changes we design for safety including ensuring that we are not creating unsafe conditions for persons with mobility limitations. We conduct appropriate analysis and testing prior to implementation in public spaces. We also conduct operating environment tests, sometimes referred to as pilot tests. Field locations are selected based on station configuration, ridership patterns and feedback from frontline employees and BART Police.
AIR PRESSURE MODIFICATIONS
In Winter 2018, BART retrofitted existing fare gates with a modification that applies pressure to fully closed gates, making it very difficult for anyone to push through the gates. This concept was piloted at Embarcadero first. The modification is designed such that the fare gate leaves close at normal pressure to ensure that there is no new risk to customers. Once fully closed the additional pressure is applied to prevent would-be fare evaders from forcing the gate open. To date this modification has been fully implemented at all downtown San Francisco stations, as well as Richmond, Fruitvale, Pittsburg Center and Antioch stations. BART will continue to implement this modification systemwide.
RICHMOND STATION PILOT PROJECT
A pilot that modified the fare gates at Richmond Station with upper flaps to create duplex leaf, stacked fare gates started on Sunday, June 9, 2019.
The design effort for the Richmond Station prototype fare gates included a risk analysis specifically looking at safety issues related to the potential for people to be struck by the upper leaves of the stacked fare gate configuration. The result of this analysis was key to the design effort. Fare gates are designed with sensors and a person moving steadily through the fare gate should not be struck by the leaves. We recognize that people occasionally pause or trip the sensors with their bodies, luggage, wheel chair or bicycle. To protect against persons being struck in the head by the upper leaves in these situations, the design tied the lower and upper leaves together. The bottom leaf and the top leaf on each side are tied together by two redundant rods. This means that if either leaf is interrupted, both leaves will stop moving. Extensive lab and file testing have confirmed that the widest part of the person or object moving through the fare gate will stop forward movement of both leaves. Typically, the widest part of a person or object moving through the gate will align with the lower leaves. If an obstruction were to occur, it would disrupt the movement of the lower leaf and this in turn would stop the movement of the upper leaf. The leaves operate under low air pressure and can be easily pushed back if interrupted.
Once the barriers are in the fully closed position, increased pressure is applied to prevent fare evaders from forcing them open.
Since the stacked fare gates have been in service at Richmond Station, we have confirmed there have been no incidents of people being struck by the barrier leaves. We received a number of customer complaints regarding safety concerns. In response to these concerns, BART staffed the gates during all operating hours with employees who helped and guided customers on use of the gates between June 10th and June 17th. The employees explained the gates safety features to concerned customers and observed them in operation. We continue to pay very close attention to the modified fare gates and monitor operations for safety.
July 25, 2019 update:
Based on a limited count post installation there has been an overall fare evasion reduction of approximately 55 to 60%.
Feedback from frontline employees is that these gates have greatly contributed to a reduction in fare evasion and a greater sense of security.
The cost for this pilot has been $114,000.
FRUITVALE STATION PILOT PROJECT
In July 2019, BART also piloted a higher barrier concept meant to reduce push throughs and jumping at Fruitvale Station.
This modified gate featured both the increased pressure when gates are fully closed and a pop-up leaf. The pop-up barrier leaves retracted from the red barrier leaves when opened and popped up to increase barrier height when the leaves closed. The cost of this pilot has been $84,000.
After about two months of testing, BART decided to remove the pop-up barriers after staff determined they created an unreasonable maintenance burden.
The pop-up removal was done the week of September 9th, 2019.
Although data showed a fare evasion reduction of approximately 17% after the pop-up modification was installed at Fruitvale Station, the installation resulted in roughly three times as much maintenance as other fare gates with the main driver being the requirement that the timing and syncing of barrier movement be very precise to allow the pop-up to properly retract when the barriers open.
The pop-up mechanisms were also frequently kicked by individuals jumping the barriers, which led to them being damaged.
Results of the pilots are set to be presented to the September 26th BART Board of Directors meeting.
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