The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) recently began installing turnstile gates at four Metro Red Line subway stations to determine if the equipment helps prevent fare evasion and boosts station security.
By the month’s end, the gates will be operational at the Normandie, Union, Westlake and Pershing Square stations. Metro is the only U.S. subway operator with a barrier-free “proof-of-payment” system through which fares are randomly checked by civilian fare inspectors and sheriff’s officers, according to LACMTA. The agency estimates it loses about $5 million annually to fare evasion, and its fare evasion rate on rail lines stands at 6 percent.
The turnstile gates are a key component of Metro’s Transit Access Pass (TAP) program, which calls for implementing an automated regional fare collection system to provide county transit riders more seamless travel among modes. In addition to installing the gates, Metro plans to install more video surveillance cameras at all gate entrances and assign more security personnel to key stations.
Metro officials will monitor operations at the four gate-equipped stations. If “all goes well,” the agency will install a total of 379 fare gates at all subway stations — as well as all Metro Green Line, and key Metro Blue and Gold line light-rail stations — by early 2010, LACMTA officials said in a prepared statement.
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