Post by LAofAnaheim on Dec 1, 2007 10:24:38 GMT -8
I support this decision. When you have a gated infrastructure, you NEED to have at least one Metro staff there for any problems/issues with ticketing. So, the gates will also perceive our system to be safer. Sometimes I get on the Blue & Green late at night, and you don't feel safe (no MTA staff or sheriffs). This will definitly help.
Also, too many times do I see people just walk to the train and avoid the ticketing machines. Maybe a lot of people have day passes/transfers, etc.. but, I really do believe a lot of people take advantage of the honor system. In my opinion, Metro revenue will increase. A $30 million initial outlay, $1 million in maintenance of the gating, $2 million (I expect) for staffing the stations, with a reduction of sheriff police (probably around $1 - 2 million as well), and the vanguish of our honor system ($5 million?). So, in all, I expect Metro to have an increase of $4 million/year.
Post by bluelineshawn on Dec 1, 2007 11:23:08 GMT -8
When you have a gated infrastructure, you NEED to have at least one Metro staff there for any problems/issues with ticketing.
No you don't and I doubt that we will at most stations.
Also, too many times do I see people just walk to the train and avoid the ticketing machines. Maybe a lot of people have day passes/transfers, etc.. but, I really do believe a lot of people take advantage of the honor system.
Yes, the large majority of those people have passes or transfers from the bus. I don't know why you'd assume otherwise. Only about 5% of riders don't pay for their tickets.
In my opinion, Metro revenue will increase. A $30 million initial outlay, $1 million in maintenance of the gating, $2 million (I expect) for staffing the stations, with a reduction of sheriff police (probably around $1 - 2 million as well), and the vanguish of our honor system ($5 million?). So, in all, I expect Metro to have an increase of $4 million/year.
Except that we'll still have the honor system on the light rail lines so we'll still need the fare inspectors. And I doubt that we'll decrease the amount of police. Fewer police means longer response times and their response time is already too long.
I'd like to know how much Metro collects from the $250 fines and how that compares to the missing ticket revenue. They never publish that information in these articles.
The agency's plan to install turnstiles at subway and light-rail stations is a betrayal of their design.
By Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
The subway station is one of the newest building types in Greater Los Angeles. It is also one of the most thoroughly under-examined. When was the last time you thought, even fleetingly, about the design of L.A.'s subway and light-rail stops?
One reason the stations have remained relatively anonymous, architecturally speaking, is that most have settled comfortably into the city's landscape. Particularly on the Gold Line -- where above-ground stops in Chinatown, Highland Park, South Pasadena and elsewhere have an open, airy feel and real urban charisma -- these designs successfully reflect the energy and spirit of Southern California. That's no small accomplishment when you consider that for many Americans the very idea of a rail line is synonymous with older, vertical cities, dank underground spaces and creaking infrastructure.
So why is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority so determined to tinker with that success?
The MTA board voted overwhelmingly last week to push forward with a plan to install turnstiles in all its underground stations and in what it calls "strategic" stops along the light-rail Gold and Blue lines. The proposal has been in the news mostly for its economic and political implications. It would cost an estimated $30 million and save roughly $6.8 million per year by eliminating the cost of carrying the 5% of riders who exploit the current honor system by failing to buy a ticket.
But the proposal also promises to have a substantial architectural and urban-design effect. Indeed, 10 or 20 years from now, what we will probably remember about the turnstile plan is not whether it saved money for the MTA but that it marked the moment when the physical design of the system moved, in both literal and symbolic terms, from open to closed.
For me -- and I suspect for many other Angelenos -- the 5% premium represented by those who cheat the system seems an acceptable price to pay for the architectural and aesthetic benefits of its openness. As its staff prepares to send a final gate plan back to its board in January, the MTA shouldn't overlook the extent to which the best-designed stations, by their very sense of fluid connection to the city, attract new riderseven as they make fare-skipping possible.
This is particularly true for above-ground stations served by light rail as opposed to subway stations buried beneath the streets. The typical MTA subway station was designed from the start to accommodate turnstiles. Adding them would certainly change the sense of flow and freedom that now characterize any MTA subway trip, but it wouldn't fundamentally alter the architecture of the stations.
The open-air stations, though, were never meant to include turnstiles, which could ruin their careful balance of accessibility and security. Take the South Pasadena stop on the Gold Line, officially known as Mission Station. With architecture by McLean & Schultz, a firm in Brea, and artwork by Michael Stutz, the station is open to the neighborhood on all sides.
Riders simply walk from the sidewalk, or from the pocket park that abuts the station, onto the tracks, where they can pick up a train heading east toward Sierra Madre or southwest into Chinatown and downtown. Those disembarking at Mission can walk directly onto adjoining sidewalks, entering the street life of the city instantaneously.
The success of the Mission station, from an architectural point of view, is now inextricably connected to the revival of the neighborhood as a whole, which is unusual in Southern California in its compact walkability. Would the station seem as attractive if the area around it weren't thriving? Perhaps not. But would all of the nearby restaurants and wine bars have opened up there without the proximity to one of the best-designed, easiest-to-use stations in the region? That too seems unlikely.
MTA official Jane Matsumoto, who has helped spearhead the gate plan, told me by phone Tuesdaythat Mission Station and other stops like it on the Gold Line have "architectural constraints" that make adding turnstiles impractical. It's encouraging to hear that gates are unlikely there, but the very phrase she used suggests that the culture of the MTA sees these issues less clearly than it should.
It's not architectural constraints that make gates impossible in South Pasadena. It's openness -- an appealing lack of constraints. The Mission design should be a model for future stations, not seen as an anomaly.
Matsumoto has been looking closely at the particulars of gate design lately. As any regular subway rider knows, some gates are better designed and work more smoothly than others. The "iron maiden" gates popular in some parts of the New York subway system, heavy barriers that run from floor to ceiling, would look particularly out of place here. Other types include the "parting leaf" gates used in Washington, D.C., and the bi-fold, "saloon-style" variation.
The MTA, which will add gates first on the Red Line, is leaning in the direction of simple turnstiles. In particular, Matsumoto likes the clean-lined turnstiles produced for some new stations in London -- including Norman Foster's Canary Wharf stop on the Jubilee Line -- and New York by a San Diego company called Cubic Transportation Systems. Cubic has been in discussions with the MTA about providing turnstiles here.
A key question moving forward is whether, in a system as interconnected as the MTA's, with bus, subway and light-rail lines flowing together, it's possible to impose a variety of approaches to security and gates. The MTA clearly thinks it is. But in deciding where to add turnstiles, the MTA and the City Council should keep in mind that a turnstile is as much an architectural instrument as a fiscal one -- as much physical, visual and psychological barrier as money-saver.
There is, finally, something dismaying about the plan in purely symbolic terms. This MTA move to close off the transit system comes at a time when politicians are pushing a variety of misguided plans to allow cars to move more freely through the region. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's support for widening the 405, paired with the new proposal to turn Olympic and Pico boulevards into streets that would act as one-way thoroughfares during rush hour, make it clear that shopworn transit strategies more appropriate for 1950s Los Angeles than the 2007 version still have plenty of political currency.
In that sense, the MTA's gate proposal is ill-timed. At a moment when the agency could be winning points with residents by promoting the reliability and openness of its transit system -- in sharp contrast to the kind of time-management Russian roulette we all play when we drive out onto the freeways -- it is pushing for a change synonymous with obstruction.
Simply as a public-relations strategy, it leaves something to be desired.
Post by bluelineshawn on Dec 5, 2007 14:59:14 GMT -8
Christopher Hawthorne is the LA Times' architecture critic. He doesn't seem to mind barriers on the subway since those stations were built with that in mind. He opposes barriers on the above ground lines. Probably just those at street level although he doesn't make that clear. But there probably won't be an issue from that standpoint. At this point the only stations likely to get barriers are the subway stops and perhaps the freeway and elevated sections of the light rail lines. And I guess Memorial Park could be done as well. From the tone of the article Mr. Hawthorne likely wouldn't have a problem with any of those.
Post by JerardWright on Dec 5, 2007 15:58:36 GMT -8
And I guess Memorial Park could be done as well. From the tone of the article Mr. Hawthorne likely wouldn't have a problem with any of those.
Nope, there's no room on the platform to provide adequate space for fare gates AND a station attendant booth and this is Pasadena's busiest station on the line since it's close to the Rose Bowl and Old Town attractions. I don't know how they'll work that one out.
"Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamp post: for support, not illumination." -Dodger Broadcaster Vin Scully
Post by bluelineshawn on Dec 5, 2007 16:12:04 GMT -8
Have you heard that all stations will get station agents? There's no way that they all could for the $1 million per year maintenace budget mentioned in the LA Times article. I've been under the assumption (maybe incorrectly) that not all of them will. If they DO get SA's then that will already be more expensive than the fare inspectors not including any maintenance. Just the red/purple lines alone have 16 stations and even assuming that not all entrances will have SA's that would work out to well over $3 million per year in salary and benefits assuming three rotating shifts per station.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board today approved a 10-year, $46 million lease contract with Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc. to install barrier gates on the Metro Red Line, Metro Purple Line and selected light rail stations in efforts to prevent fare evasion, provide for seamless travel and improve transit station security.
The Metro Board also approved existing Cubic contract amendments for $12 million over a 10-year period for system maintenance, and $10 million for station modifications needed to relocate existing stand-alone ticket validators and civil work for gating Metro Rail stations. Installation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant system should take 18 to 24 months to complete.
At the direction of the Board, Metro also will seek ways to offset gating costs through various state bond monies and Department of Homeland Security funding, and will provide monthly committee reports to regularly track project timelines and costs.
Currently, Metro operates a barrier-free “honor system.” The agency loses $5.5 million per year due to fare evasion. Overall, Metro has found a 5 percent fare evasion rate across all of its rail lines. The new gating system could recover $3-6 million annually to offset these losses as well as realize significant annual savings on fare inspector costs. Based on current forecasts, the savings enabled by the system will begin to pay for itself in the fourth year of full system operation.
Barrier gates are also a key component of Metro’s emerging regional Transit Access Pass, or TAP program. TAP is an automated, electronic regional fare collection system that will create a multi-modal, multi-operator fare system for L.A. County transit riders. Metro and municipal operators are installing new equipment on both buses and in rail stations to prepare for TAP. In addition to Metro, Culver CityBus became the first regional operator to enable “seamless travel” on TAP this week. CityBus riders can use the TAP pass to transfer seamlessly to Metro using the debit card feature. Patrons riding additional municipal operators will also soon be able to easily “tap” the fare box or validator with their TAP “smart” card to pay their fares. The system will create more seamless travel for Metro and municipal patrons by allowing them to transfer from one operator to the next, and between transit modes.
Metro’s customer centers have been outfitted to accommodate the sale of Metro monthly and weekly TAP passes. Also selling these Metro products are Foothill Transit and LADOT Stores to support getting TAP into the hands of Metro pass riders.
“Gates are a natural evolution of Los Angeles County’s maturing Metro Rail system,” said Pam O’Connor, Santa Monica City Councilmember and Metro Board Chair. “They will help us keep pace with the demands of our fast growing rail ridership while ushering in the newest improvements in universal fare technology to streamline travel for our customers.”
A total of 379 fare gates will be installed on all subway and selected light rail stations, including the yet-to-be-completed Mariachi, Soto and Atlantic stations on the Metro Gold Line Eastside extension.
“Metro remains the only subway operator in the country to operate a barrier-free system,” said Yvonne B. Burke, Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board member. “That freedom has come at a significant cost to the agency’s bottom line as a result of fare scofflaws. This initiative will pay for itself, makes TAP possible, and further hardens our system to potential security threats.”
Security at stations will be augmented as part of the program. Additional video surveillance cameras will be installed at all gate entrances, and attendants will be on-hand to respond to situations or assist patrons where needed.
The TAP barrier gates will enable Metro to obtain more reliable and accurate information about ridership trends on its rail lines. Gross trip counts, point-to-point ridership and time of day information will help the agency more effectively manage ridership peaks throughout the rail system.
Once in place, the gates are expected to reduce the need for civilian fare inspectors, allowing the agency to flexibly make needed personnel redeployments when and where necessary. Metro could potentially save as much as $7 million per year in contracted fare inspector costs replaced in part with more cost-effective Metro Transit Security personnel. Sworn law enforcement would also be freed of fare checking responsibilities at gated stations, allowing them to focus primarily on station security.
Gates will accommodate disabled patrons, children and patron-operated devices such as wheelchairs, strollers, walkers and bicycles, as well as emergency egress and access for fire-life safety devices. Gates will also provide for better control of station entry and egress, avoiding confusion and chaos to patrons as new rail lines open and bus and rail service in the region increases ridership. Lastly, gates promote new and innovative ways to consider potential revenue generation with bank cards and issuers as well as offers opportunities for different fare policies
Can a Present-Day Valid Metrolink ticket open the Fare Gates? Nope.
May not seem like a big deal at first, but Metrolink is very concerned about fare gates. Why? Today's Metrolink tickets and passes will not be able to open the fare gates. Looking at a present-day round trip Metrolink ticket, there's no magnetic strip or bar codes anywhere on the ticket! I don't think the gates will have ticket slots with built-in OCR scanners to read the text printed on the ticket; so this will mean Metrolink will have to spend a bunch of money to upgrade its ticket stock. The frustrating part is that Metrolink just recently upgraded its TVM's a few years ago. Metrolink's TVM's would have to go through another set of upgrades so that Metrolink ticketholders can ride the system through the Metrolink EZ Pass agreement. This will mean higher capital costs for Metrolink.
Another thought about faregates/turnstiles: When I was a boy, grocery stores had turnstiles. Some were cast iron and made a rumbling noise when turned, others were more modern and went "ka-chunk". Today's supermarkets don't have them, at least none of the places I shop at. Anyone on this board know of a market with turnstiles? Someone with a background in the grocery business who can give an inside report?