Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority has latched subway entry gates at downtown Union Station, as part of plan to prevent fare evaders from breezing through the gates and using the transit system without paying, reports NBC Los Angeles.
The new system will not only thwart commuters who illegally cut through for free rides, but also promote the Metro’s fare payment system, known as TAP (Transit Access Pass). While not a pass in itself, the TAP card is an important innovation for L.A. County transit riders.
The plastic card contains a smart chip that enables riders to buy and electronically load Metro passes, participating regional and local transit line passes, electronic cash, or any combination of the three. It offers the ability to hold multiple passes, paying fares to the exact penny, and eliminating the necessity of carrying around loose change.
According to the NBC report, previously, an honor system was used — and abused. Video from a Metro station showed several commuters could be seen walking through the unlatched turnstiles without paying. Metro officials report they are losing an estimated $2 million per year because of fare evaders.
But as of Wednesday, on Metro’s Red and Purple lines out of Union Station, if commuters don’t pay, the latched turnstiles won’t open. Turnstiles at other stations on those lines will be latched by the end of summer.
Meanwhile, inspectors and sheriff deputies will continue to staff stations, on the lookout for anyone trying to find another method of boarding without paying.