The Fort Totten Metrorail station, which serves both the Red and Green lines, is testing two new prototype fare gates to thwart fare evasion.
One design resembles a swinging pair of saloon doors, and the other has plastic half-discs on top to prevent gate hoppers from getting a handhold to launch a leap.
The half-disc design has already been installed, while the saloon doors were not yet operational as of Thursday, according to DCist.
— Metro (@wmata) November 17, 2022
Metro management is aware that where there is a will to evade payment, there will often be a way.
“There is never a perfect gate. If we want to have a gate where there will never be fare evasion, that’s called a wall and we won’t run service,” Metro General Manager Randy Clarke said at a recent board meeting.
The prototypes’ performance at Fort Totten will determine which, if any, design Metro uses at rail stations going forward.
“We’re not going to go system-wide until we collect data, and figure out what the return on investment on this is. We’re not gonna spend $100 million to collect $100 million,” Mr. Clarke told DCist.
Some passengers are already on board with the new prototypes.
“I think that will help because right now they can just step right through the ones we have now. So I think that’s going to deter a lot of people from fare jumping,” passenger Drew Fletcher told DC News Now.
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