The new and supposedly gatehopping-proof BART fare gates are already in use at the West Oakland station, and now BART has announced the next eight stations that will get them. Of course, SF’s notorious Civic Center station is on the list.
BART’s four-year quest to create and install evasion-proof fare gates resulted in a few unsuccessful gate models, but the agency finally settled on a design for the $90 million gate replacement project in August, and installed the first batch of them at the end of December in the West Oakland station. And apparently, the gates are considered successful enough that BART just announced they’re putting them at eight more stations.
Today BART announced the next 8 stations to get the new fare gates. Our prototypes are being tested at the West Oakland station.— BART (@SFBART) January 11, 2024
We will determine which door material to move forward w/ and we will unveil a mechanical door lock. We are also working on the lag after you tap. pic.twitter.com/wrfDIY2esj
So look out, fare-hoppers, as KRON4 reports on the eight stations getting the new supposedly evasion-proof fare gates. To no one’s surprise, the fare-evasion den that is SF's Civic Center station is among them. Other SF stations next up to get the gates include the 24th Street/Mission, Montgomery Street, and Powell Street stations.
Elsewhere on the system, the new gates are also next being installed at Fruitvale station, as well as the “terminus” (end of the line) stations at SFO, Antioch, and Richmond.
Civic Center will be the first of the 8 stations and we plan to do the elevator fare gate first.— BART (@SFBART) January 11, 2024
Also, if there is no power or if there is another type of emergency, the doors will not be able to lock and they will be open.
Though in a subsequent tweet, BART noted that Civic Center station is getting them first, for reasons that should be fare-ly obvious. According to the Chronicle, BART will “replace the fare gates at these stations in the coming months, with a goal of having them installed by May or June.”
And while the $90 million cost may seem steep, the transit agency has some $350 million in state and regional subsidies that are contingent on BART installing the jump-proof gates systemwide by the end of 2025.
VIDEO Click Photo— Bart Fare Evaders (@Bartfare) January 8, 2024
A Piggyback Fare Evader at the new West Oakland fare gates was called out by a station agent but missed by four @SFBART 👮♂️👮♂️👮♂️👮♂️ Police Officers.
Plus, a station agent at Montgomery BART station
claimed I can't take📱 pictures@debora_allen1 @StanleyRoberts pic.twitter.com/U2uQd87xAM
Observers in the wild have noted that the current versions of the gates at West Oakland are not 100% evasion-proof, or at least, not yet. The Twitter video above shows there’s been some degree of “piggybacking,” or people sneaking through on the previous person’s Clipper card tag. But those gates are just prototypes, and BART says they’re working on the problem. “The lag is 1.2 seconds from when you tag and when the door opens,” the agency said in a tweet. “We are working to speed that up and should have fix in the coming (weeks).”
But that’s just one brief video. KGO popped by West Oakland station and did their own informal analysis of whether the new BART gates are really preventing fare evasion. “We were there for nearly two hours. Let's just say, we've never seen so many people buying or adding money to their Clipper cards,” KGO reports. “And during that time, we saw only one person who piggybacked off another paying passenger.”
BART spokesperson Anna Duckworth told that station, "I can speak anecdotally and from what I've heard from station agents, they say it's been a complete game changer."
Image: @SFBART via Twitter