Think you can hop these upcoming new supposedly evasion-proof BART fare gates? Before you jump, realize they’re going to have bird-repellent spikes designed to be very hostile toward fare-hoppers’ hands.
BART has been on a quest to design and install evasion-proof gates since 2019, but previous iterations have left much to be desired. The double-stacked fare gate experiment was hardly a success, with BART board member Bevan Dufty referring to that design as the “guillotine fare gate that will live forever in some infamy.” Dufty made that cutting remark at a March 23 meeting where BART fielded staff recommendations on their $90 million “Next Generation Fare Gate project, and on Thursday, the BART board awarded the contract for the new supposedly evasion-proof gates to Virginia-based vendor called STraffic, according to the Chronicle.
An early rendering of the news gates, clearly marked “Not Final,” is seen below.
“The new fare gates will look unlike any other of the current 700 fare gates in the BART system,” BART said in an online announcement. “While the new design has not yet been finalized, the gates will have clear swing barriers that will be very difficult to be pushed through, jumped over, or maneuvered under. The overall fare gate array height (gate, console, integrated barrier) will form a tall barrier of 72” minimum to prevent fare evasion.
“The next generation fare gates will not have the orange fins riders have become accustomed to,“ the announcement adds.
Again, this is not the final version, it’s just a “conceptual rendering” of what the new gates will look like. And oddly (and maybe cleverly?) the new gates have bird-repellant spikes that are usually used to keep pigeons off of things, but seem also likely designed to deter people from physically jumping over the top of these clear, new six-foot tall gates.
Considering all this “fiscal cliff” and “doomsday scenario” talk about the current state of BART’s finances, $90 million sounds like a lot money to be throwing around on unproven upgrade projects. But according to BART’s online announcement, $49.5 million of that is coming from federal, state, and County Transportation Agency funding. And if the gates are in fact evasion-proof, considering that BART still estimates it loses $25 million a year to fare evasion the gates would theoretically pay for themselves within four years.
That is, if they actually do prevent fare evasion.
Image via BART