The comedy of errors over at BART over how to update its 50-year-old fare gate designs continues, though it might come with a significant twist this week.
The BART board is expected to vote this week on three turnstile/fare gate design options, one of which will be the very tall, floor-to-ceiling style metal turnstiles featured in many New York City subway entrances.
As KPIX reports, the other two options up for discussion include some plexiglass, mid-rise gates that swing open, and European-style glass gates that retract — and both of these seems like they will not stop people from "piggy-backing" on a single fare. The tighter New York-style gates could work better, however it should be noted that most of New York's MTA system uses old-fashioned turnstiles that are just as easy to jump over as SF's fare gates, with the taller ones mostly only located at entrances that have no station agent present.
Update: As of Thursday, BART's board has voted to move forward with the more Muni-esque swing-style gates, which they will be more sturdy and tall than the ones Muni uses.
BART has been testing various ideas for reducing fare evasion, including double-stacking the existing orange gates, and making them clamp down harder — concepts which a) did nothing to stop fare-evaders jumping through them, and b) presented dangers for people in wheelchairs.
Just two weeks ago, BART decided to scrap another modified version of its existing gates which were in testing at Fruitvale Station. The gates have scary little shark fins that shoot up from the top of the orange clampers when they close, making gate-jumping more difficult and/or dangerous. Yes, they reportedly reduced fare evasion at the station by 17 percent, as the Chronicle reported, but it wasn't worth the cost of repairing the fins that were constantly getting kicked by would-be evaders and knocked out of sync.
We'll wait and see what the board goes with this week, and hopefully they actually make a decision. As BART director Debora Allen told ABC 7 this week, "We're building new stations and we're building [these] new stations with 1972 Pong-era fare gates inside of them. That just doesn't make sense."