BART’s $90 million, four-year Holy Grail quest for an evasion-proof fare gate appears to be in its home stretch, as they’ve unveiled the “overall structure” of the current version of the new gates that are allegedly debuting by the end of the year.
BART’s vision for an “evasion-proof” fare gate goes back to 2019, and the concept has been through a few designs. You may recall 2021’s double-stack gate widely derided as a “guillotine” model, which was shown to completely not prevent fare evasion.
The agency finally settled on a design and awarded the contract in August. But we had only ever seen renderings of these supposedly evasion proof gates, released earlier this year.
We just awarded the contract for 775 new fare gates (paid for by BART, county, federal, and state funds).— BART (@SFBART) August 7, 2023
We will install the first gates at West Oakland Station in December and test them there before rolling out to all stations in 2024 and 2025.
Here is a conceptual design: https://t.co/PdGqqpu2O1 pic.twitter.com/BvJIcG0E1o
But behold! We now have our first look at BART’s new evasion proof gates, pictured below. BART is careful to say that “This is a work in progress and not the final design,” but also that “We're ready to share a photo of the structure for the very first time.”
This is an overall structure for the next generation BART fare gates. This is a work in progress and not the final design. We're ready to share a photo of the structure for the very first time.— BART (@SFBART) November 15, 2023
BART will be installing these prototypes at West Oakland Station by end of this year. pic.twitter.com/oCemdjGC6k
These do look fairly gatecrash-proof! It’s arguable where the bottom of the doors are, so maybe one could slide under. And these do not have the “bird spikes” seen on previous renderings. We won’t know if they have any vulnerabilities until creative gate-hoppers have a go at them, but BART insists these can take riders’ special needs into account.
“The gates will have advanced 3D sensors that are able to detect if someone is in a wheelchair or has a bike, stroller, or luggage with them, allowing for more time before the swing barrier closes,” BART says in an explainer. “The gates will have LED lighting on the swing barriers and the pathway through the gate to help visually impaired riders.”
Of course, it’s been widely reported that it will cost $90 million to procure and install these gates in every BART station. But since BART says it loses $25 million a year to fare evasion, these gates would pay for themselves in about four years — that is, if they are, in fact, evasion-proof.
BART says these should be installed first at West Oakland station by the end of the year, and NBC Bay Area reports that BART will evaluate them “in order to see if the design needs to be tweaked.” BART hopes to have them installed at all stations systemwide by the end of 2025.
Image: @SFBART via Twitter