This week it was announced that in the spring of 2010 they will begin the construction of fare gates at all SkyTrain stations.
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.
Update July 2011: Translink has started fare gate construction.