Metro Board moves to lock gates at Metro Rail stations within next six months

The Board approved a motion by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky asking Metro staff to plan to lock the gates at Metro Rail stations within the next five or six months.

“I think the evidence is resounding and clear — there are a lot of people who have been avoiding paying their fares,” said Yaroslavsky. “We’re talking about millions of dollars here” in terms of lost revenue.

Yaroslavsky also disputed previous reports suggesting the fare evasion rate is as low as three percent.

Metro tested locking the gates at a variety of subway stations last year. Here’s a staff report about the tests — in which Metro staff said that revenues greatly increased when the gates were locked.

The Metro Board also approved a motion by L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar to establish a working group of three TAP-enabled muni bus operators, three non-TAP enabled munis and Metro executive staff. The group will be charged with solving issues that are preventing some agencies from adopting TAP cards as a form of fare payment.

The more agencies that use TAP, of course, the easier it will be to have a regional fare system and to ensure that all passengers get through gates on the Metro system.

Metro is still working with Metrolink and other agencies to make commuter rail and EZ passes TAP-enabled. We’ll have more details in the coming weeks.