The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is looking for a new solution to the widespread fare evasion problem that causes it to lose up to $25 million a year. Unfortunately, changing all 600 consoles for sturdier versions would cost an estimated $150 million to $200 million. BART’s general manager links the issue of fare cheats to the issues of crime and panhandling at BART stations. BART General Manager Grace Crunican told the following to the San Francisco Chronicle,
We have fare gates that are fairly easy to push open, so it’s on us to get a different set of fare gates.
The potential gate changes are part of BART’s long-term strategy to change station environments and to hopefully restore riders’ trust in public transportation. The agency has also been increasing its police presence and trying to block the other hatches that people use to sneak on board. BART will probably buy new gates with open software that BART engineers can upgrade themselves so that they don’t have to pay fees for modify the gates when needed. BART staff will present their findings on the fare gate study to the board next spring. Hopefully, the agency is able to prevent fare evasion and improve public safety at its stations.