New Yorkers have already found ways to bypass the recently installed fare gates at four of the city’s transportation hubs, as the city aims to modernize its subway stations and reduce fare evasion.
New York City’s transit agency has recently installed its first set of high-tech sensor gates at a subway station near John F. Kennedy International Airport. This marks a significant milestone after a successful nine-month pilot program at the Barclays Center subway station.
The subway stations have recently upgraded their gates with swinging gate doors, providing easier access for travelers with luggage, strollers, or other belongings. These new gates replace the traditional stainless steel turnstiles commonly found in most subway stations.
The installation of the gates has also been completed at Penn Station in Manhattan and the Astoria Boulevard subway station in Queens. These four stations, known for their high volume of commuters and transfers, now feature the new gates.
Officials with the MTA estimate that the agency lost some $690 million to fare evasion in 2022, roughly 3.7% of its 2022 operating budget
MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer emphasized the importance of the new generation of fare gates, stating that they are crucial for improving accessibility and combating fare evasion. He highlighted the significant impact fare evasion has on the financial stability of the entire transit system. Torres-Springer further explained that over 50% of subway fare evasion happens through emergency exit gates, and the redesign of the fare array infrastructure will effectively eliminate this loophole.
Despite efforts to reduce fare evasion, the fare gates have not completely eliminated the problem. A TikTok video shared by a user named kiingspiidertv demonstrates a simple technique for bypassing the fare gates. By leaning over the gate and tapping the exit sensor, the gate can be easily opened, granting unrestricted access to individuals.
Some riders have found ways to bypass the gates without paying by squeezing multiple people behind one person who pays to open the gate. This practice, known as piggybacking, allows them to enter without paying their fare.
According to estimates from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency suffered a loss of approximately $690 million in 2022 due to fare evasion. This amount accounts for about 3.7% of the agency’s operating budget for the same year, which stands at $18.6 billion. It is worth noting that fare gate revenue constitutes around one-quarter of the MTA’s total revenue sources.