Turnstiles will be latched today at Wilshire/Normandie Station

Introducing Gate Help, which is being tested today. Riders who need help once the gates are latched can push a button or move directly in front of the motion sensor for immediate assistance.

Introducing Gate Help, which is being tested today. Riders who need help once the gates are latched can push a button or move directly in front of the motion sensor for immediate assistance.

Metro will be latching the turnstiles at the Purple Line Wilshire/Normandie Station today from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m to test for operational readiness, particularly for the new TAP Hands Free Gate Help device which will be stationed between the gates and ticket vending machines. Patrons who experience problems at the turnstiles can use Gate Help to get immediate assistance directly from Metro Rail Operations. Gate Help allows Rail Operations to monitor situations and unlatch turnstiles remotely if necessary.

Testing Gate Help at Wilshire/Normandie.

Testing Gate Help at Wilshire/Normandie.

The station will be monitored to see what other issues still need to be addressed in preparation for latching all the gates later this year. Metro attendants will be available at the TVMs to assist patrons buying and loading TAP cards.

Those of you who begin your trips at Wilshire/Normandie might want to buy a TAP card and load it up today in case there are lines at the TVMs tomorrow.

35 replies

  1. LAX, this isn’t about me or my travel history; please leave the personal attacks out of it.

    Metro has a 6% fare evasion rate. If installing fare gates at some stations made even half those riders pay the systemwide average fare of sixty-some cents per ride, Metro would recover about $1.5M per year. The gates cost $46M, so it will be THIRTY YEARS before the gates pay for themselves. Those gates won’t last thirty years. But while they do last, they’ll inconvenience and bottleneck all of Metro’s fare-paying riders.

    I realize that it rankles to know that some riders are getting, literally, a free ride at our expense. It bugs me too. But I don’t want to spend even MORE money just to soothe my indignant feelings, and Metro shouldn’t be doing so either.

    Regarding police officers spending “half their time checking fares and half on security”: police can do both jobs at once. The mere presence of a uniformed officer helps deter crime. An officer who is checking fares can easily drop what he is doing and respond to an assault or robbery. A locked fare gate can’t do that.

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    • Hi Joe B;

      Two points:

      •No one knows for sure what the fare evasion rate is. There have been a variety of estimates over the years.
      •I think when considering the bottom line you should also consider that ridership on Metro Rail is likely to increase as more projects are completed in the next decade — Gold Line Foothill Extension, Expo 2, Crenshaw/LAX, Regional Connector, Westside Subway phase 1.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

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  2. For the stations that don’t have gates (like Gold Line Memorial Park and Expo Line Culver City), is Metro going to retrofit the stations with gates?

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  3. Joe B

    You do not consider that ridership numbers will bound to increase over time that will overwhelm the police officers workload when a machine can do it faster without complaining.

    You do not consider that there will be more stations and lines over time..We cannot keep hiring more officers to do manual tasks as the system expands.

    “An officer who is checking fares can easily drop what he is doing and respond to an assault or robbery. A locked fare gate can’t do that.”

    You highly underestimate that police officers are supermen/women who can just “drop what they are doing and respond.”

    If they drop what they are doing, now there’s no one to check on fare checks. Now times that when there millions of passengers. Times that across hundreds of stations.

    What you are saying is unrealistic.

    It’s far more easier to make the fare gates as a tool that helps the police officers reduce their workload, let the gates do the menial tasks of fare checks on their behalf and have police presence so that they can focus security only.

    What do you think other cities around the world do? They have both fare gates and officers. Fare gates are not replacements to officers. Fare gates are a tool that aids police officers, it’s a machine that helps them do redundant tasks to an automated machine so that they can pay attention to more important needs.

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  4. The TAP card system is far from perfect but I would say it is still acceptable. However, because of so many transferring options by Metro, the turnstile program is far from do-able. The only way to have a flawless turnstile implementation is to eliminate the privileges of transfers altogether (both Metro-to Muni and Muni-to Metro). In addition, a successfully operating barrier rail station system must be constructed that way in the first place. It is extremely difficult to convert from a barrier-free system to a barrier system.

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  5. Jason,

    Eliminating and scrapping transfer agreements is one solution, but I doubt it’ll pass muster as it involves a lot of parties.

    In addition, you’ll also end up with creating more fare inequalities than before.

    Remember when Metro got rid of transfers within their own system? Now you have the problem of riders paying full $1.50 when their transfer involves a short ride. A person can travel 20 miles for a $1.50 on a single bus, but another person has to pay $3.00 to travel 5 miles on two buses. That’s the system we have today because we got rid of transfers.

    We already heard cases of how some are refusing to use Metro because of this because it’s far cheaper to drive shorter distances than paying a $1.50 without factoring in travel distance.

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  6. “Do you think places like NYC, London, or Tokyo would be able to handle all that passenger traffic using random fare checkers? ”

    Actually, London does just that at some of its outlying stations.
    But, for the record…

    …and in case Steve edits this, the list is at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof-of-payment

    …here are all the systems that use Proof-of-Payment
    (And remember that although some cites are smaller, they have larger transit systems and higher daily use):

    All German S-Bahn, U-Bahn and Stadtbahn (light rail) systems, as well as most German tramway systems
    Majority of public transport systems in Central Europe and Eastern Europe
    Altamont Commuter Express
    Baltimore Light Rail
    Buffalo Metro Rail
    Calgary C-Train
    Charlotte, North Carolina LYNX
    Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Red Line Rapid Transit
    Copenhagen Metro and Copenhagen S-Train
    Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Light Rail system and Trinity Railway Express
    Denver, Colorado Regional Transportation District
    Edmonton Transit System
    GO Transit
    Helsinki commuter rail
    Helsinki Public Transit
    Hiawatha Light Rail Line Twin Cities, Minnesota
    MTR Light Rail in Hong Kong
    METRORail of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas in Houston, Texas
    Line 1 (ISAP) of the Attiko Metro in Athens, Greece
    Los Angeles County Metro Rail
    Docklands Light Railway, London, United Kingdom
    Luas, Dublin, Ireland
    NJ Transit light rail lines: Newark Light Rail, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and River Line
    Metrolink in Southern California
    Montreal’s Agence métropolitaine de transport commuter trains
    Mumbai Suburban Railway
    Norfolk, Virginia’s Tide Light Rail of Hampton Roads Transit.
    Ottawa, Ontario O-Train
    Phoenix, Arizona Metro Light Rail
    Portland, Oregon TriMet
    Sacramento, California RT Light Rail
    San Diego Trolley
    San Francisco Bay Area Caltrain
    San Francisco Municipal Railway[1]
    Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)
    Seattle, Washington Sounder Commuter Rail and Central Link light rail (Sound Transit)
    St. Louis MetroLink
    TTC 501 Queen
    Translink (Vancouver)
    Tyne and Wear Metro
    Utah Transit Authority TRAX
    Vienna U-Bahn and Trams
    Virginia Railway Express
    Zagreb ZET

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  7. LAX Frequent Flyer: Clipper in the San Francisco Bay Area is able to handle intra-agency and inter-agency transfers, with a minimum amount of fuss. Clipper doesn’t dictate pricing; it merely implements whatever fare structures and connecting fare arrangements have been adopted. They’re all different, and they’re all subject to change at the whim of the various governing boards. There’s mounting pressure on the smaller operators to play well with others, but the eight largest pretty much get to do whatever they want.

    For a transfer from A to B, where A is a flat-fare operator, B typically checks if there’s been a tap-in on A within the past two hours. If so, it processes a transfer rather than a new ride. If A is a station-pair or zone-based operator, the transfer period starts with tap out (although it may be as little as an hour). I’m oversimplifying, of course; there are a lot of “what if” scenarios involving various fare products and time windows, and Cubic (which is also TAP’s vendor) gets paid a lot of money to make it all work. It’s reliable enough that, in most cases, paper transfers have been eliminated, so passengers paying cash onboard get stuck paying full price for each segment. (However, unlike Metro, same-operator rail-to-rail transfers are free as long as you don’t exit the station, even if you have to change platforms.)

    Transfers from B to A will not necessarily cost the same as A to B. In this region, asymmetric fares are allowed to exist even within a single agency. (Drivers are also used to paying bridge tolls in only one direction.) Transfers come in many flavors: single or multiple use; restricted or unrestricted direction of travel; discounts off full-fare ranging from negligible to 100%.

    On the other issue, San Francisco’s subway stations have locked fare gates, while surface stations do not. This doesn’t seem to have posed a problem. Incidentally, the original proposal for the Central Subway (currently under construction) called for a barrierless system. Locked faregates were added to the underground station designs at Homeland Security’s insistence; deterring fare evasion wasn’t the prime motivation.

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  8. I think it’s futile to compare a city like Los Angeles with the cities noted above.

    LA has a lot more in common with megacities like New York, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Singapore, all which have gated systems, in terms culture, population density, lack of land (we pretty much used up all of it now, we now need to start building upwards), and mass transit ridership potential than Norfolk, Phoenix and Zagreb.

    LA is growing. It’s getting denser. Mass transit in LA needs to evolve to become like the cities which share the same characteristics as LA.

    I think people need to stop whining and complaining. Locked gates aren’t new. It’s being used all over the world. If they don’t work, why are megacities using them? Duh.

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  9. It’s worth noting that the German Proof-of-Payment systems have two things going on:
    (1) Enforcement with huge fines. You couldn’t do that in LA because people trust the German police departments to be fair and honest, or at least not to assault people, whereas the LA police departments are known to be full of thugs.
    (2) Social enforcement. If other passengers catch you cheating on the fare, they aren’t happy. This culture, unfortunately, is not present in LA or NY.

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