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The Mission Chronicle

Julio at 7 years old in Guatemala
A New Student’s Story
February 8, 2024

Bart’s New Idea: A problem?

West+Oakland+Station+gates
Jayden Reyes-Batres
West Oakland Station gates

When fares are high, gate hopping is tempting; however, it may not be an option for much longer. Gate hopping or fare evasion is very infamous in BART because there are always people hopping the gates. According to an article in SFGate, there are an estimated 22,000 people who evaded paying fare every day. This research was collected in only one of 48 BART stations. 

 There are a lot of people who rely on BART and use it often. With this much popularity also comes different attention from other people like teens and homeless people. Most people who don’t want to or can’t afford to pay the fare gate, hop over the gates and use BART for free whenever they want. BART has claimed that they struggle with fare evasion and passengers say they see it all the time. Bart has estimated that they lose about 25 million dollars a year from fare evasion. 

As of January 2024, they have already made changes in security and have redesigned the fare gates from these waist-level electronic sliders to the new tall, vertical electric doors. This is to deter people from not paying and increase safety. They have already added this new design in the West Oakland station on December 28, 2023. Recently, BART even said they will add the new gate to 24th Street’s station sometime this spring. Bart hasn’t published the progress of these new gates but it’s implying that something is working. 

 

But why do people jump gates anyway? A three stop trip from 24th St. to Daly City is $3.60 round trip. Times that by 180 days for one school year and the total is $648. Reminder that this is the youth discount. The reason people are evading fare is because they don’t want to spend too much money. As of January 1, 2024. Bart is increasing its Clipper fare discount to newcomers by 50%. This is an attempt to promote riders from hopping. Maybe people will pay if Bart’s less expensive. 

Bart claims that they are going to add more of the high security gates at eight other stations including Embarcadero, Montgomery, and 16th St. Bart says they will be done with the gate installations by 2025 and spend up to $90 million to fund.

There have been reports from articles saying that the new West Oakland station tends to lag and the doors move slowly, causing passengers to miss their train. The gates are still very new to judge, but it seems the new gates need better software.

One idea Bart could consider is making it free to youth 18 and younger. For kids who need to get to school, this would be a huge cost savings for families and students wouldn’t have to feel ashamed or guilty while using Bart. SF MUNI already offers free rides to youth. 

Overall, fare evasion may be for various things such as economic problems or lack of punishment. Everything can’t be realistically solved. The best thing to do now is see what happens next.

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About the Contributor
Jayden Reyes-Batres, Staff Writer
He is a human being who writes stories in the Mission Chronicle. He likes to hangout in random places and his favorite color is maroon.
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