the mailbag at charlieonthembta@com brings this interesting question
I read somewhere that T officials claim the new gates will all but eliminate fare evasion. I have also read that since the initial installation of most of the gates fare evasion went down. I am a little bit skeptical of both claims. I have been riding the T for more than 10 years and to the best of my recollection saw maybe two people actually jump a turnstile in that time. Since the installation of the new system I have actually been part of 4 separate instances of fare evasion, and my wife has had it happen to her twice. Its pretty simple really, the offender just follows you real closely through the gate. The gates will try and closes and then immediately reopen when the hit the person behind you. The 4 times it happened to me were at South Station, where I haven’t seen any CSR’s with any regularity. The last time it happened to me it was a guy in a suit! People just don’t want to go through the 17 step process to buy a ticket at a vending machine after waiting for 5 minutes in line at rush hour. Have you seen or heard of more instances like this, or is what I have seen an aberration?
The one location I have seen this happening regularly is Forest Hills in the afternoon when school gets out. The kids walk through the gates almost at will. The T changed the order from turnstyles to gates and I’m not convinced it was a good idea. New York and Chicago decided to keep turnstyles when they converted to Automatic Fare Collection 10 years ago. I think Mike has raised a valid point.