Is fare evasion with the new gates easier?

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?

Mike, Dorchester

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.



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7 responses to “Is fare evasion with the new gates easier?

  1. It’s also very easy to stand on the paid side of the gate, causing it to stay open while people walk in from the unpaid side. This makes a buzzing noise, but nobody seems to care about that.

  2. I’m not sure if it’s easier or more common to evade fares now but it’s certainly more obvious. There used to be a move you could do with the old turnstiles where u pull it slightly towards you and then go forward and you would be able to get through. If you were good at it no one would even be able to tell what you did. A lot of people used to do it but it was much harder to notice then someone walking through the gate and setting off alarms.

  3. The new gates here in Boston are similar to those in use in Paris. Fare evasion using the “crowd in behind paying passenger” method is fairly common there.

    Paris pickpockets have been known to use this method to dip rear trouser pockets while evading the fare.

  4. Anonymous

    Fare evasion is a lot easier, but the penalities are harder and I see more CSAs in the stations making sure people don’t. I’ve seen a couple people spottted/heard (w/ the alarm) doing it and they were fined, but I also saw a group of 60 or so people get through on one fare at one of the less used stations.

  5. Anonymous

    Fare evasion may be easier, but it’s also more obvious. If more people would be aware of tricks like this (and possibly straight-arm the “tailgater” back behind the closing gate), maybe fewer people would try this trick in the first place.

  6. Anonymous

    I don’t know that its more obvious. Have you heard the number of times the alarms on the gates go off? Slow people, card mis-reads, and people exiting too closely behind the person in from of them causes the gates to make the same sound.

  7. John

    My thoughts on the new gates are this, the T went to great expense to replace a century plus proven system because they believe the majority of their customers are thieves.
    They then proceeded to implement the new system so badly that they encouraged many riders to become thieves.

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