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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. “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

  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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

    • 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

  10. Joe B,

    Your solution costs more tax dollars and is more inefficient, that’s why.

    What you’re saying is let’s just hire more police officers and let them do the jobs of conducting both fare checks and providing security.

    Why should we, the taxpayers, have to pay for hiring more police officers and have them focus half their time to check fares and half the time to check on security?

    From a taxpayer’s perspective it’s much cheaper to let the machines take over the redundant task of fare checks and have officers focus 100% of their time to check on security instead.

    This does two things: no need to hire more officers and lets officers focus 100% of their time on security.

    Staffing police officers just to conduct fare checks cost tax dollars too you know. And they can’t be around 24/7 and they cannot handle checking everyone’s fares across all the lines and all the stations. Officers are humans, they need days off, they need lunch and restroom breaks, they need to paid.

    Machines are cheaper, they’re faster, and they handle redundant fare checking tasks without taking a a vacation, asking for more pay raises or needing lunch or restroom breaks.

    Use the officers to provide security only. Not waste their time and our tax dollars to check fares. Let the machines do that instead.

  11. Only a person whose never stepped outside of LA or have never visited other cities around the world would say “fare gates are a waste of money.”

    Do you think places like NYC, London, or Tokyo would be able to handle all that passenger traffic using random fare checkers? How do you think those cities manage to handle millions of passengers travelling on mass transit each day?

    Passenger numbers are bound to rise in LA as we continue to expand our system so we might as well do it now when we have small number of stations to do it with than wasting tax dollars to put them in across all stations later.

  12. Fare gates are still a huge waste of money. You won’t recover anywhere near the amount of money in fares that it cost to put in the turnstiles. Plus, having random fare checkers on trains helped provide some measure of security. How will you provide security on Metro trains without the fare checkers watching over things? Will Metro trains (especially the Blue/Expo trains) become even more filthy with discarded food and garbage than before?

    BBB still issues paper Metro transfers. How will I transfer to the train after Union Station is locked down?

  13. The issue with Metro-to/from-Muni transfers is that there is no set standard.

    For example, if one were to use the Expo Line and transfer over to the Culver City Bus, it’s $1.50 + $0.35.

    On the other direction, transferring from the Culver City Bus to Expo, it’s $1.00 + $0.40.

    What you end up is paying more when it’s Metro-to-Muni and paying less if it’s Muni-to-Metro. That is, of course if you do it right.

    But the whole thing becomes more complicated because as it stands now, TAP has no idea if you just got off from another agency and transferring to another.

    There is no TAP out process which records that you just got off of Metro so the next TAP in that you make when you board the Culver City Bus does not distinguish you as a new rider. If you TAP in, it’ll deduct $1.00 instead of $0.35 as it supposed to.

    Likewise, there is no TAP out process when you get off of the Culver City Bus, so when you TAP in at Culver City Station to catch the Expo Line, it’ll deduct $1.50 instead of $0.40.

    TAP can’t handle this today (doesn’t anything on TAP work as it’s supposed to?) so it’s up to the traveler to know all of these confusing aspects and it’s also up to the agency to train their staff and bus drivers to actually memorize all these cobweb of agreements and transfer fares.

    This is another great example of why we need to ditch the illogical flat rate TAP in only system and move to distance based TAP in/TAP out system. The flat rate fare structures and the unstandardized transfer agreements as it stands today is getting in the way of seamless capabilities that TAP can handle easily.

  14. “With transfering from Subway/Light Rail to muni you can purchase a transfer for the reduced price from the machines.”

    You can still buy a paper transfer at either your first or last Metro station with TVMs, and that is what I’d strongly recommend at this point in T.A.P. development.

    Loading a transfer to a Municipal Bus Operator onto a T.A.P. card (and you better be sure they have fareboxes that can read one) can only be done at the your final Metro station with a TVM (i.e. where you will actually make the transfer) which adds delay (could lead to a missed connection) and defeats the purpose of a seamless RFID fare card.

  15. The gate latching seemed to go smoothly when I passed through the station. The only issue was that there were a couple of officers trying to check people’s passes at the top of the escalator before to head towards the gates to leave the station. This created a big bottleneck with people a the top of the escalator milling around trying to get out their passes, while the escalator kept piling up more and more people behind them–a potentially very dangerous situation. Checking passes is great, but please don’t do it at the top of an escalator when a train full of people are going up it!

  16. Oh please, a help button? What a joke, look how far away that button is from the turnstiles. I betcha those help buttons are going to breakdown most of the time and the rest of the time, the audio will be so bad you can barely hear what they’re saying.

    Why can’t Metro just staff these stations with live employees in dedicated information booths like most cities in the world?

    Metro doesn’t really care about providing customer service. All they care about is lining their pockets with wasting tax dollars on stupid things like these.

    For all the tax dollars Metro’s been wasting on things like renaming stations after politicians or putting in artwork, they could’ve just built information booths where live station staff can assist customers instead which actually does something useful!

  17. Henry,

    Ah yes, the fenced joke that we have for the turnstiles on the Green Line, especially at Aviation/LAX. That was a really brilliant move where they installed wrought iron fences with a narrow turnstile that LAX travelers have a hard time getting their luggages through there. Did Metro ever stopped to think that a station designated as “LAX” would involve people with luggages with them?

    More reasons why planners need to start building stations as a multiuse complex with retail space and wider fare gates (not turnstiles!) in mind than just being open air platforms on the ground.

    Does anyone on the Metro Board or planners who build stations ever bother to go to train stations abroad to see how train station should be built? Is it really that hard to buy a cheap economy class ticket on Expedia and start taking pictures and videos of how London and Tokyo build their stations and run their trains and incorporate their ideas here?

    Why keep trying to re-invent the wheel with poor planning like this which in the long run, just cost more tax dollars to fix?

  18. The elevated Expo Line stations did not include turnstiles, although it would be trivial to designated a fenced area to put one in. The oddball random placement of the Blue Line gated stations defeats the whole point in my opinion.

  19. @Kimberly

    None of the Expo line stations currently have gates. I do believe if Metro wanted it could install gates at the 3 elevated stations though some station reconfiguration may be in order.

    Also all phase 2 elevated stations are being planned with gates in mind.

  20. It’s about time! When will it be applied throughout the entire Metro system? This needs to be top priority. There’s just too many dishonest people not paying to ride the train and it’s a ridicule to taxpayers to keep footing the bill.

    • Hi Kimberly;

      The gate latching will begin on the Red and Purple Lines this summer and then at a later date continue at Green Line and some Blue and Gold Line stations.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  21. Confused with TAP,

    With transfering from Subway/Light Rail to muni you can purchase a transfer for the reduced price from the machines.

    When transfering from Muni to Subay/Light Rail if they have TAP they should be able to load the transfer on to the tap card, but if they don’t have TAP then they will be have paper-tap transfers when the gates are locked.

    Steve Hymon,

    I belive this information is correct, unless i’m missing something.

    • Hi Confused with TAP;

      The test tomorrow doesn’t impact transferring to muni buses. Either TAP when boarding the bus or get a Metro-muni transfer.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  22. I think Metro needs to be clearer on this because we are confused.

    Are the gates locked from both sides or is just from the entrance side? Do I have to TAP in when entering the system and TAP out when exiting? Or just TAP in once on entry and just pass through on exit?

    I’ve been discussing this with my co-workers here in the office and we are totally lost whether the new system is like NY where the validation takes place only at the entry or if it’s like London or Tokyo where validations are done at both the entries and exits.

    How do transfers work to municipal bus lines? If I take the Purple Line to Wilshire/Western and transfer to the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Rapid 7, how does Metro-to-Muni work? They are not on TAP yet.

    Likewise, what do I do if I take the Culver City Bus and transfer to the Expo Line, how does Metro-to-Muni work in this case where both uses TAP? Does TAP deduct only $0.40 as it’s supposed to or does it deduct $1.50 when I ride the Expo?

    • Hi Confused With TAP;

      You will only have to TAP in — no tapping out required now. In other words, do what you’re doing now to gain entry into the stations that have turnstiles.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  23. Yes, Yes, and Yes, but now they might be testing the new Metrolink TAPs.
    The Metrolink riders won’t have TAP, but heck, maybe the assisting Metro employees at the station will.