Notes from this morning's gate latching press conference

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Photos: Steve Hymon/Metro

It has been a long time coming: The gates are now latched full-time at both entrances to the Red/Purple Line at Union Station. In order to get through the gates, all patrons need to have a TAP card — either the plastic kind or the paper tickets that are TAP enabled.

Here’s a post that explains everything.

In order to help get the word out, Metro held a news conference on the subway’s mezzanine this morning — and there was considerable media interest.

All the speakers — Metro Board Chair Mike Antonovich, Metrolink Board Chair Patrick Morris and Metro Board Members Zev Yaroslavsky, Richard Katz and Antonio Villaraigosa — hammered a similar theme that all patrons should pay to ride. “Gate latching will end the freeloading,” Antonovich said.

Yaroslavsky called it a fair and responsible way to run a transit system. He added that increased revenues from fares will be pumped right back into an expanding system for those who depend on transit and those want to use transit as an alternative to sitting in traffic.

Villaraigosa reminded everyone that this was an effort many moons in the making and said the expansion of TAP to other transit agencies will help build the regional transit system the area deserves.

— posted for Steve Hymon, who is stuck in a meeting

20 replies

  1. Erik, you and I know that fare enforcement on Metro has been spotty for years. Especially downtown many people feel they can ride the subway for one or two stops without paying. While I doubt there are that many daily commuters who don’t pay there are a lot of casual riders who just get on for a few stops, but now they will have to pay, at least on the subway. The other alternative is to have saturation fare enforcement like in San Diego.

  2. Erik,

    Why would we need an Add Fare machine? You TAP-in at a gated turnstile and if you don’t have money, it won’t get you through in the first place.

    TAP-out is only a secondary check that’ll be place in consideration of those that may have gotten onboard dishonestly though the ungated and unlatched stations. You don’t need Add Fare machines. You just need to staff officers right there to nab the fare cheaters red-handed because they can’t get out.

    It’s simple logic. You pay to ride. I don’t understand what the deal is with constant whiners like you. It’s a done deal. Get over it. If you have a problem, write your elected officials and see if they care.

    “‘A lot of people — if not the majority of people — are not paying their fare,’ said Zev Yaroslavsky, a county supervisor and a member of the board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.”

    Yes, we know and we saw them everyday. Therefore, that’s what we’ve been saying for years. And they finally got our message. What’s your point? You think that’s going help turn the tide in your favor? Majority of the people WANT a gated system. That’s why our elected officials like Zev Yaroslavsky acted upon them. If we weren’t the majority, they wouldn’t act. Simple.

  3. A reminder what Zev Yaroslavsky thinks of Metro customers, from the New York Times article in May:

    “‘A lot of people — if not the majority of people — are not paying their fare,’ said Zev Yaroslavsky, a county supervisor and a member of the board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.”

  4. @Manuel, the problem with having fares checked on exit is that then Metro will need to install a set of “Add Fare (to your T.A.P. card) machines. While I am sure that the fine folks at Cubic would be happy to oblige, this brings the total cost of the turnstiling project even higher.

  5. Anna,

    I think the biggest difference is taxpayers expect Metro to run trains which have no traffic jams to worry about to come on time everytime. Metro is run with tax dollars, you and your co-workers’ salaries are paid with tax dollars. We expect you to keep the trains and tracks in order so that delays don’t happen. If Japan is able to bring their trains on time everytime that even Swiss watch makers fine tune their clocks to them, it’s expected that Metro should be able to do the same. Why can’t we have that? Why is there’s always delays in the Blue Line? How are you using your tax dollars? That’s what people are asking.

    Driving on the other hand, it’s the person driving that chose to make that decision. Delays are the drivers’ fault for making the decision to drive. Delays on Metro aren’t the riders fault, it’s not the tax payers’ fault, it’s Metro’s fault.

  6. The funniest part was when the ex-Metro Chief Financial Officer who said Metro is “wasting money” by latching the gates and his idea is to hire more officers (and where is that money going to come from? LOL) and he says “we’re here, we’re watching,” you see another freeloader behind go RIGHT UNDER THE GATES!!! LOL

  7. TAP out as a secondary check for those who got on from non-gated stations sounds like a good idea. Can Metro look into this? The more checks there are, the more we can stop freeloading. Having a fare check upon exit via TAP out can do exactly that. In addition, it’ll offer you guys with more data on how transit riders are using the system to help you in running services. It’s a win-win.

  8. With the Blue Line loophole and the senior fare loophole (the ability to load discounted “one ride” senior fares on a regular blue TAP card) you will still need to have plenty of deputies checking, since there are no verifications required if you buy a senior fare (as there would be on a bus, or if a orange TAP card were required). Ultimately while it may make everyone feel better that people have to tap their card at the gate, there is no assurance that they would have paid the full fare, or a discounted fare which they may not be entitled to.

  9. So if you are on a bike and there are people around you and you are not even sure where the elevator takes you (you know like in other stations it takes you down where the tap machines are, they are not on the streets or smtimes they are on the streets..hmm.. who knows?) how can you possibly guess that that’s where you shouldve tapped? There is no warning or nothing. Maybe you think all people think of is your tap system but no they think about destination they are getting to, time it will take to get, where the frikin station is, how to navigate through all this crowd.. and everything else except about tap system, so either make it clear or don’t complaint.
    2nd so are you going to refund us the 10 minute delay ride? Which was promised to be 2 min? I think I should get 250$ for that from you, because you lied? How about taking responsibility yourself since you want people to be so punctual.?
    Waiting for answer. Thanks

    • Hi Vahe,

      At this point, I’m pretty sure most people understand that before riding a bus or train, they must pay fare. I agree that Metro could still make improvements in where they place validators and such, but as a rider it’s up to you to make sure you have paid for your ride.

      And second, who do you ask for refunds when you are stuck in traffic and what was supposed to be a 5 minute drive becomes 30?


      Anna Chen
      The Source, Writer

  10. Steve,

    I think he’s mentioning how those validators are not really in the most visible and obvious places in most light rail stations.

    With gates on the subway, you know that’s where you’re supposed to TAP because you have to go through a physical barrier to enter the station platform. The gate itself is the TAP validator so it’s hard to miss and plainly obvious.

    But when you look at those stand alone validators and where they are positioned in most light rail stations, it’s is so easy to miss. There’s no physical barrier leading into the station. There’s no gates that acts as a TAP validator as well. The TAP validators are off to the side.

    Whomever designed our light rail stations obviously never built them with gates in mind. They need to redesign all the stations and hopefully, design all future stations with gate concepts in mind.

  11. I’m really glad that they are finally doing this. Los Angeles’ Metro map is getting larger and things like gates make more sense as the system grows and matures.

    Will it stop ALL freeloading? No, because there will always be people who are determined to break the laws.

    Will it make it harder for people to break the law? Of course it will. I compare it to traffic laws, where you need a police officer there to catch the speeders, gate-jumpers, etc.

    Wake up, people. Fare evasion isn’t “stickin’ it to the man.” It’s stealing from the taxpayers who paid for all of these nifty subway lines.

  12. What if I am with a bike first time on gold line hardly found it and there were no tapping machines on my way bc I took elevator, so I forgot to tap? And you if you are so sure that whatever you do is right and people are wrong only (they dont wanna pay) how much are you gonna refund us for 10± minute stop at hollywood/western yesterday when driver told us its gonna be 2 minutes first.? And I missed by less than 1 minute the closure of fresh and easy at10:01 pm? I can show how I paid for that ticket and you didn’t provide me the service I wanted, I would better ride bike and get there faster. Please answer

    • I’m not sure which Gold Line station you are talking about. At Union Station, there are TAP validators within a few feet of the elevators. I often use the Allen station on Gold Line and the elevators are behind the gates, which have yet to be latched.

      Bottom line: you are supposed to tap before getting on a train. And although gate latching has begun, there will still be deputies on the train and they still may check fares.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  13. No, this will not end freeloading. The gates will have to be “latched” (as Metro prefers to say) for exits too because not all of the system have gates.

    Already dishonest people are adjusting how to beat the system. Just today, a freeloader from the Blue Line boasted how he can get on at any of the stations on the Blue Line stations that have no gates and make out of the Red or Purple Line stations without paying and no one will be able it.

    All the stations in the system will need to be locked. If that’s not going to happen anytime soon, then the gates will have to be latched on exit too so as a secondary check for those who rode from stations without gates did indeed TAP-in at their point of boarding and paid honestly.

  14. Gate latching will NOT end the “freeloading.” Entitled folks will jump right over. And with no ticke/info booths and a minimal police presence at any or all gates in any or all stations, who’ll know?
    Don’t look for millions more in revenue, ‘taint gonna’ happen.