SkyTrain Fare Gates Poll

Comments 22 by Rebecca Bollwitt

This week it was announced that in the spring of 2010 they will begin the construction of fare gates at all SkyTrain stations.

Photo credit: Oran Viriyincy on Flickr

Premier Gordon Campbell says these devices will help create a safer environment for users, and he admits this should have been done decades ago. TransLink adds this will be an advantage to transit officers who won’t have to spend their time dealing with fare evaders and instead can concentrate on safety.

TransLink also says smartcards will generate ridership information that will help future service planning, plus the ability to structure fares to match the service being provided. TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast says the timing of fare gates and smart cards with major Expo Line station renovations is more financially efficient as well. [News1130]

I wrote about possible turnstiles in SkyTrain stations back in November of 2007 and also linked back to where I mentioned that a smartcard system would be ideal (the comments on both posts are great). These are not new ideas by any means as the people of greater Vancouver have definitely had their sights on a system like this for decades.

I’m curious to see what the fare gates will look like and how they’ll fit into the current stations. I don’t think I have a personal issue with this hands-off fare enforcement — it’s better to have a turnstile or gate tell you that you can’t ride the train than a duo of tazer-toting SkyTrain police.

[poll id=”31″]

Update July 2011: Translink has started fare gate construction.

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22 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. JennyThursday, April 9th, 2009 — 2:12pm PDT

    It makes so much more sense. And I think it will provide a litte more security.

  2. MatthewThursday, April 9th, 2009 — 2:19pm PDT

    Makes running for the skytrain in the morning a little slower, but I think it’ll allow the stations to have a bit more sense of security. You’re going to get ticket evaders either way, though. There’s nothing to stop anyone from jumping the turnstile.

  3. AC MoneyThursday, April 9th, 2009 — 2:28pm PDT

    It’s about time! It will be interesting to see if the revenue jumps up once those are in place. They will not stop people from evading completely, but will be a deterrent to normally law-abiding riders who take advantage of the non-enforced “honour system” simply because they can.

    Smart cards… hmm… welcome to the 1990’s when other major international cities have been using them for years.

  4. MarinaThursday, April 9th, 2009 — 2:40pm PDT

    It’s about bloody time. Seems a bit late (this should have been started in time for the Olympics) but better late than never.

  5. klparrotThursday, April 9th, 2009 — 3:11pm PDT

    It’s not like Vancouver is a lone holdout against fare gates; Munich, for example, doesn’t have them on their U-bahn either. With the movement towards making buses fare-paid zones to permit all-door boarding (at least on the B-lines), why are we going in the opposite direction with the SkyTrain?

    I also don’t understand the security argument; somehow I doubt that all SkyTrain crime is committed by fare evaders. Wouldn’t the money be better spent increasing policing, which would deter not only fare evasion but also other crime?

  6. Michael KwanThursday, April 9th, 2009 — 3:11pm PDT

    The argument that Translink had before was that the cost of installing and maintaining a turnstile and/or smartcard system would be more than how much they are losing in terms of fare evaders. What they failed to recognize was the added safety (and data, as mentioned) that they get too.

    I’d say it’s about time.

  7. GZ ExpatThursday, April 9th, 2009 — 3:44pm PDT

    Hey! It’s the Bangkok Sky Train!!

    The first time I returned home to the USA in 2001, I traveled on Portland’s Max train for the first time. I was stunned that the platforms were open and accessible to anyone, paying and non-paying alike. It was so easy to just step on the train and not pay.

    Having lived in Asia for too many years, I’ve never run across this on any major public transport system. All subways have wickets to pass through which you either deposit a token, ticket or scan your pass over the top of for access through the wickets.

    In the long run, I think the city will find these wickets will pay for themselves as the Sky Train will no longer have to employ ticket checkers along its routes and hassle with non-paying customers (which can create an uncomfortable atmosphere for paying customers).

  8. JohnThursday, April 9th, 2009 — 8:37pm PDT

    Welcome to 1980, Vancouver! Also welcome to 1984 with your transit pass recording your travel history.

  9. ChrisThursday, April 9th, 2009 — 10:24pm PDT

    I think it’s a bad idea. If the government has $100 million dollars to spend, why not spend it upgrading the system, adding more capacity?

    Barriers won’t make the system safer. Shady characters will still get on, and most of the incidents in the past year have happened just outside of SkyTrain stations anyway.

  10. SophiaThursday, April 9th, 2009 — 10:55pm PDT

    It`s a great way to make the system more efficient. Having visited cities with superior transit trains such as HK and NYC, it`s about time Vancouver followed suit!

  11. crsFriday, April 10th, 2009 — 10:07am PDT

    I’ve used the systems in New York and San Francisco and they are definitely better in many ways to ours. The access is like the one in the picture in SF and has you holding on to the ticket for when you leave (so the more you travel the more you pay). There is an attendant at every station, but really there should be one anyway, particularly for Tourists. You put money on the card, then it subtracts on exit. We *could* do away with zones, and have people swiping in and out on both buses and skytrains. The max fare for the trip is charged if you don’t swipe out, so the swipe in is the only place that needs to be policed.

    On the side note, I really hope they do not do away with zones unless they charged distance based fares on the buses. I take the bus from the West End to Gastown to work, so if they raise the fare even a little, it will be more economical and convenient for me to drive. How sad would that be?

  12. Stephen ReesFriday, April 10th, 2009 — 10:31am PDT

    $100m is a lot to spend – when fare evasion is around $6m a year. These costs of course do not cover the need to have staff at every station all the time – a significant cost increase over the present roving patrol approach. In fact having staff near the gates all the time reduces security everywhere else.

    New York and Paris have always had turnstiles – and both have had significant crime problems. If gates “make people feel safer” then that is an illusion.

    All of this is covered on my blog

  13. DavidFriday, April 10th, 2009 — 10:35am PDT

    If they do get them, I hope they user the more hi-tech kind that they use in Paris, where you can load up an electronic fare card and then just place it on a magnetic reader to deduct the fare. So much faster and simpler (and more convenient) and environmentally better than all of this paper waste. Of course, there will always be the bus transfers, but perhaps this will at least help with the Skytrain-only trips, and you could always load your transfer fair onto your card at a fare machine.

  14. GaryFriday, April 10th, 2009 — 10:35am PDT

    It’s about time turnstiles are being implemented. The old argument that they would cost more than what they are losing to fare evaders is ridiculous.

    After experiencing the subways systems in Seoul and Hong Kong, the Skytrain “honour system” is a joke!

  15. KimmFriday, April 10th, 2009 — 10:48am PDT

    It’s about time fare polls are being added. I also think if the skytrain ran 24/7 or at least 20/7, so that people who work weird hours shifts can get to/from work in a timely fashion.

    Its hard to say with fares if they should be increased or decreased in my opinion as the cost of living/gas/usage of skytrain maintenance goes up so should it. But I do think the fare price should decrease a tad.

    But no matter what they promise, I still find myself driving EVERYWHERE all over the lowermainland as buses/skytrains don’t run where I need to go and do I really wanna spend 7hours on transit .. nope.

  16. EsseltesFriday, April 10th, 2009 — 11:17am PDT

    It’s all very amusing. We are in a capitalist society, the government here is going to do whatever makes them the most profit (info from smart cards, tickets for evaders, turnstiles – whatever) even though they end up wasting most of the money their intention is to do what corporations lobby them to do, because corporation have the money. For example The president of Taser International visiting the Vancouver Police [2004] and all of a sudden our no-taser law is overturned and Vancouver Police are all armed with Tasers! Yes, in the interest of “safety”. That seems to have turned out really well 🙂

    The big difference in places like Europe, not to mention how much older their society is than ours, is that the people are willing and ready to fight for what they want and therefore the government has to be more ‘for the people’ where as in Canada we often let everything go with a shrug.

  17. NicoleMonday, April 13th, 2009 — 2:26am PDT

    I remember how frustrating it was when I came home from London after using the Tube and realizing just how inadequate our transit system is. I get that London’s population is incomparable to our own, and they have a much older infrastructure away from earthquake fault lines, but I think we need to learn more from the ‘European’ model.

    I for one don’t really understand the point of zoning because someone could only travel two stops and still have to buy a two-zone pass!

    I’m glad to see the turnstiles decision because I take skytrain almost every day and I have not had my transit pass checked once this semester. Ever since skytrain police began operating it seems the regular fare checks have disappeared – I see transit cops often but they are usually just talking to each other and I’ve never seen them checking fares.

  18. ScottSunday, May 3rd, 2009 — 10:41pm PDT

    Well opinions are just that and here is mine. Put in the darn gates. Yes it will cost money, everything does but let’s remember it will cost more tomorrow than today. No argument on this please, it is just fact. Hide your head in the sand if you like but some form of silent sentry for fare collection will happen at some point and by the way not all barriers are constructed in such a way that jumping over them is an option. Honestly the only individuals I can imagine objecting to this idea are the very individuals that also object to paying a fare. If you believe Trans Link when they report in the Buzzer that studies show fare evasion to be at about 2% you are closing your eyes to the truth. I have witnessed a fare check on a 99 B-Line during the late evening where there were many empty seats and 11 passengers were sent to the front of the bus to pay a fare. Read that again, 11 people on a less than full bus! Multiply that percentage by the total daily passenger counts on the entire system and the reported 2% becomes nothing more than a laughing matter. What amazes me is the number of honest people that will always pay no matter what and then suggest that it’s OK to let others scam our system. Do you honest folks not realize that you are paying for these freeloaders? Don’t kid yourself, Trans Link has a very clear idea of how many people use the system daily and how much they should realize at day’s end when the fare boxes are emptied. If that number falls short the next round of deliberations will calculate how much to raise the fare in order to meet that number. Guess who will pay! That’s right, the same people that currently pay. The freeloaders will continue to steal their ride out of your pocket. This opinion is delivered here by someone who actually knows how many freeloaders there really are and feels very badly for the honest folks. Get the turnstyles, smart cards and yes more security people.

  19. MikeThursday, August 13th, 2009 — 5:38pm PDT

    The gates should have been implemented in the first place. I guess they have realized that Vancouver is a changing city and the quality of the residents is not as it was in 1986. Some of you do not believe that gates will help, but as a regular commuter, I have personally witnessed assaults and robberies while on the train, and somehow I doubt these people were paying fare on their way in to mug someone.

    This is all a part of becoming a big city, and being a big city costs a lot of money. This is not Kelowna.

  20. SljivaSaturday, August 15th, 2009 — 4:41am PDT

    hm I don’t like it

  21. Jacob SSunday, November 15th, 2009 — 12:27pm PST

    think having faregates will make the sktrain enviroment safer and a lot more people including myself will use the skytrain more often

  22. MaseyTuesday, July 19th, 2011 — 7:12pm PDT

    Brilliant! Should have happened a LONG time ago. Every time fares went up I groaned knowing that my EXTRA hard-earned cash being spent on transit was going to, yet again, do nothing more than prop up the fare jumpers.

    I guarantee you’ll notice the drop in patronage on the Skytrain once this has been fully implemented. I estimate that on any given day, 10% – 20% of the people sharing any single carriage with you on the Skytrain have paid nothing for the privilege. Hopefully this will now be remedied.

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