Subway emergency exit gates at some stations to test 15-second delay to help deter fare evasion

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, January 30, 2024
MTA testing new emergency exit doors with 15-second delay
CeFaan Kim has more on the program.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The MTA has been rolling out pilot programs targeting fare evasion and trying to make riders feel safer. One such measure will put emergency exit gates on a 15-second delay.

The MTA got approval from the state to implement the pilot program to put emergency gates on a short delay.

Critics are concerned in an actual emergency, waiting 15 seconds to exit could put people in a dangerous situation.

The timed delay will be tried out next month at three subway stations. All three have ample turnstiles for riders to access in case of an actual emergency.

They include the 59th Street-Lexington Avenue Station in Manhattan, the Flushing Avenue Station in Brooklyn, and the 138th Street Station in the Bronx.

The MTA has already tested the delayed gates out at Brooklyn's Borough Hall station.

"They push the bar and push the bar because they were doing it as a matter of convenience, and they kind of said whatever they said and they walked around and went out the turnstile, so that's the goal is to frustrate folks," said NYC Transit President Richard Davey.

That's just one of the ideas that the MTA is testing out at various stations. They're also trying to gauge public support, and that has been a challenge.

While some of the strategies have already proven successful, The New York Times said Tuesday morning, "New Yorkers have not been impressed."

The MTA installed yellow subway platform barriers at the Clark Street subway station over the weekend, the second station where the gates are being piloted.

In Queens, the Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue station has replaced the turnstiles with glowing green fare gates.

Some transit riders have already figured out how to open the gates without paying, a technique quickly disseminated on TikTok.

Despite the ridicule, revenue at that station has increased by 20% since implementation.

These pilot projects are described by MTA as basic attempts to temporarily resolve complex problems.

Transit officials are looking to see what works and what doesn't. None of the ideas are expected to be long-term.

As NYC Transit President Rich Davey said Monday of some of these challenges, if you don't experience failure, you aren't trying hard enough.

The MTA estimated that for 2022, it lost about $285 million to fare evasion.

However, for 2023, data from the MTA shows 12.7% of subway riders did not pay a fare, resulting in approximately $409 million lost.

ALSO READ | MTA eyeing 6-week shutdown for G train this summer

FILE- The G subway train enters the elevated Smith-Ninth Streets station in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan


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