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‘Curbing the bad behavior’: BART approves $47M contract for improved fare gates

BART plans to start replacing the current fare gates, as seen at the Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre BART Station, this year. | Samantha Laurey/Bay City News

BART stations will soon feature new fare gates intended to prevent fare evasion after the transit agency’s governing board unanimously approved a $47 million contract on Thursday.

BART awarded the contract to Virginia-based STraffic America for the first phase of replacing some 700 fare gates across all of BART’s stations.

The new gates, which will tentatively include a set of clear swinging doors rather than the orange fins on the current fare gates, will ostensibly prevent BART riders from circumventing the gate in either direction while also ensuring that they will not slow down the flow of foot traffic, according to BART and STraffic officials.

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The project will ultimately cost an estimated $90 million to replace the fare gates at every station by 2026, according to BART.

A prototype for the new gates will be installed by the end of the year at the West Oakland station, which is an ideal location due to its singular entry and exit point, according to BART and STraffic.

“We look forward to working with the BART team and providing new technology, new fare gates and, more importantly, the highest performance and the best possible customer experience to all riders in the Bay Area,” said Paul Korczak, a consultant with STraffic.

BART officials estimate that fare evasion costs the agency up to $25 million in fare revenue each year. BART officials have also argued that fare evaders make up the majority of those who are cited by BART police for other infractions.

“The project will go a long way in curbing the bad behavior, the drug use, the cleanliness issues, the crime that our riders are forced to live with every time they get on a train,” BART Board Director Debora Allen said. “It’s imperative to our customer experience and the return of riders to get this done as quickly as possible.”

BART has secured roughly $73 million of the project’s estimated cost, including the use of $21.7 million in state and federal funding and $22.9 million of BART’s own capital project funding.

On the project’s current timeline, STraffic and BART will begin installing new fare gates at more than a dozen stations next year. 

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