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Metro To Lock All Fare Gates Within 6 Months

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Fare dodgers, your days of free rides on Metro subways are numbered: "The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted Thursday to look into finally locking the gates at dozens of subway stops," reports the Daily News. Their plan is to have the gates locked within six months.

The Metro Red Line has been on the "honor system" since it opened in 1993, presuming all passengers who pass through the station doors is going to visit the machine and pay the proper fare before riding. (How no one talked some sense into the powers that be 20 years ago remains a head-scratcher, no?)

Metro loses an estimated $4 million a year on just the Red Line, according to gate-locking supporters. Imagine: The honor system isn't working in one of America's largest urban centers! Gasp!

A motion put forth by Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky that was approved Thursday calls for Metro officials to come to the table next month with a plan to implement gate-locking at the subway stations first, then the light rail stations.

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One thing holding Metro back, reportedly, has been a lack of a "uniform way for riders to pay to ride the [multiple] transit lines" that operate within the country. And there are fare gates at some Metro stations--about half--but they aren't locked.

A month-long test program last fall had some stations' gates locked to see how passengers handled the new parameters of ridership. As a result, several arrests were made and numerous citations issued. Metro staff reports from the test period indicated "revenues greatly increased when the gates were locked," notes Metro's The Source.

Not having a uniform fare system remains a problem, as does the fact that some stations don't have room for fare gates. The hope is to deal with both issues simultaneously, however, says the Daily News, Metro officials "aren't promising such an outcome."