West Oakland BART Station to Test New High-Tech Fare Gates in Bid to Curb Evasion Losses

West Oakland BART Station to Test New High-Tech Fare Gates in Bid to Curb Evasion LossesSource: BART
Nina Singh-Hudson
Published on December 05, 2023

Commuters using Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) can expect to see new fare gates at the West Oakland Station starting the week of December 11. This is part of a pilot project to reduce fare evasion, a significant revenue drain for the transit system. Installation of the next-generation fare gates will take around two weeks, according to BART’s announcement, and will be completed before the new year rings in.

During the installation, passengers will find construction barriers around the current gates, but train service will remain unaffected. Two temporary accessible gates, outfitted with carpets to help visually impaired riders, will be used to enter and exit the station. It is located adjacent to the Station Agent Booth and marked to ensure a smooth transition for commuters—the right gate for entering and the left for exiting.

BART’s proactive approach to tackling fare evasion includes the introduction of 775 state-of-the-art fare gates across all stations by the end of 2025, totaling a significant investment of $90 million. Hoodline reports that the funding for this overhaul comes from a mix of BART's budget and county, state, and federal funds.

"Alicia Trost," BART's Chief Communications Officer disclosed to Hoodline, stressed the importance of everyone chipping in as remote work changes transit patterns. The fare paid by the passengers is crucial to the system's operation, although discounts are available for low-income and young riders. With the West Oakland Station serving as a testing ground, the new gates will be analyzed for their effectiveness in preventing fare evasion before being rolled out system-wide.

The ongoing issue of fare evasion has caused BART to hemorrhage millions in lost revenue each year. Introducing these high-tech gates, which are only the beginning, is expected not just to stem those losses but also to improve accessibility for all riders. As upgrades proceed into 2024, half of the BART stations will see these improvements, signaling a move towards a more secure and financially stable transit environment in the Bay Area.