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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Alberta & British Columbia > SSP: Local Vancouver > Transportation & Infrastructure

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  #1  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2007, 4:27 PM
lightrail lightrail is offline
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Compass & Fare Gates | u/c

Transportation minister plans transit security measures to deter cheaters
John Bermingham, With a file by John Colebourn, The Province

Published: Friday, November 09, 2007

The B.C. government wants to take the crime train out of SkyTrain.

Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon unveiled ideas yesterday to radically overhaul the transit system to make it a safer ride -- and to stop fare evaders in their tracks.

His sweeping plans include:
Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon wants to install electronic turnstiles and prosecute cheaters criminally as part of a sweeping plan to make SkyTrain safer.
Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon wants to install electronic turnstiles and prosecute cheaters criminally as part of a sweeping plan to make SkyTrain safer.

- Installing electronic turnstiles at every SkyTrain and Canada Line station before the 2010 Olympics, along with more closed-circuit cameras.

- Launching a smart-card system to be used on trains and buses, which can be recharged at vending machines or on the Internet.

- Pursuing fare evaders with criminal prosecutions and on-the-spot fines.

- Boosting security outside SkyTrain stations.

- Improving safety for bus drivers.

Falcon said he was impressed by the London Underground and the Dutch Metro system in Rotterdam during a trip to Europe in September.

After talking with senior security officials in London, he became convinced SkyTrain needs to install turnstiles and more closed-circuit TV.

"The personal safety of commuters improves dramatically in a closed system," he told The Province.

"Women, in particular, feel safer and are safer. It's a controlled area and criminals generally stay out."

Falcon said turnstiles weed out the hang-arounds and reduce the chance of an act of terrorism.

The head of the Dutch transit system told Falcon that prior to installing its gated system, 60 per cent of all violence and assaults were caused by people who didn't pay fares.

After the turnstiles went in, fare evasion fell from 20 per cent to two per cent and ridership rose by almost 30 per cent.

Turnstiles have been priced at $100 million plus, but Falcon hopes to find a private partner to build and operate the system on a revenue-sharing basis.

A smart-card system would allow passengers to pay as they go by touching their card on an electronic reader. The card automatically debits the fare and can be topped up at stations or on the Internet.

"It's very easy to use," said Falcon. "It actually grows your ridership dramatically. It's really convenient."

Falcon called current fare-evasion enforcement in B.C. "a joke," with evaders giving bogus names and refusing to pay $173 fines.

Transit cops in London criminally charge evaders if they give wrong names and levy on-the-spot fines. Falcon wants a similar system here.

"Your fare-evasion figures drop to single figures overnight," he said. "The fact is, it's too easy for people not to pay today. It has a corrosive effect on the honest people."

Fare-evaders cost TransLink up to $7 million a year.

Falcon said he's also relying on municipalities to increase police presence around SkyTrain stations.

TransLink chairman Malcolm Brodie welcomed the turnstiles, smart-card system and toughening the fare-evasion regimen.

"I believe it's a matter of safety and security," he said. "And the perception and the reality of security will increase with the gated system."

Brodie said smart cards are "inevitable."

"Not only will the smart-card system support the turnstile system, I believe it will result in greater fare collection, and it will result in greater convenience to the public."

Meanwhile, commuters at the Waterfront SkyTrain station yesterday said the proposals make sense.

"I think turnstiles are a good idea," said SkyTrain rider Sharon Farrar, 50, of Port Coquitlam.

"Too many people are getting a free ride," she added.

Farrar also said more security cameras and more transit cops are welcome.

"There's no problem with more security if you aren't doing anything wrong," she said.

Jason Beck, 26, uses the SkyTrain regularly and wonders if fare cheats will be stopped by turnstiles.

"I think a lot of people will jump over the turnstiles," he said.

And he said he has more safety concerns when on buses.

"I think buses are worse than SkyTrains," he said.

"The stations are secure and most of the attacks are happening outside of the SkyTrain stations," he pointed out.

Summerland resident Krista Plomish, 35, in Vancouver on business, said she prefers to use the SkyTrain rather than her car.

She likes the system but knows ugly incidents happen.

"I have concerns about taking the SkyTrain at certain hours. More security is a good idea."

Falcon said he doesn't know the final cost of the security measures but will make sure TransLink gets the money to pull it off.

- Falcon also said he is thinking of starting random checks of vehicles and passengers prior to boarding B.C. Ferries to thwart terrorists.

"You can't check every vehicle and car," he said. "But there are random checks that could be undertaken. There are different ways you could approach it, that create real nervousness amongst people that have nefarious intentions."
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2007, 4:54 PM
murman murman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightrail View Post
"I think a lot of people will jump over the turnstiles," he said.

And he said he has more safety concerns when on buses.

"I think buses are worse than SkyTrains," he said.
Use high gates instead of turnstiles. Done in lots of places elsewhere.

Buses are the DTES of the transportation network.
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  #3  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2007, 6:16 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murman View Post
Use high gates instead of turnstiles. Done in lots of places elsewhere.

Buses are the DTES of the transportation network.
What are "high gates"?

A few comments. Most of the crime does happen outside the station.

60% of criminals aren't fare payers... doesn't mean much... they'll either hop the gates or they'll pay the fare... that doesn't address the crime problem... I'm mixed on this one... I don't think the statistic says anything... Can anyone convince me otherwise?

The smart card is a great idea (but doesn't come from Falcon)
Increased Transit around the stations and cctv has nothing to do with Gates.

But if crime in ANY factor goes down because of this multi-faceted approach, you can guarantee Falcon will claim it's the gates that made the difference.

Truth of the matter is a lot of improvements in security have little to do with gates. While I'm not arguing that they may improve the system, I AM saying that they will not be completely responsible for a large drop in crime.

I doubt Kevin actually uses the system, whatsoever.
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  #4  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2007, 6:45 PM
clooless clooless is offline
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The question I have is how will smart cards work for those that typically buy a monthly pass? Will the smart cards store an unlimited credit in those cases or will all trips debit some value from the cards?

The problem I have with turnstiles is, as I saw on the New York subway, the scofflaws simply gathered outside the turnstiles. That's not to say that I am against them, just that the reality is they are only part of the solution.
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  #5  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2007, 8:15 PM
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mezzanine mezzanine is offline
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An example of high gates can be found on London's underground:





They come up to about chest-height, so it is more of a barrier vs turnstiles.

I think this is a good idea. IMO, I think there will be a dramatic difference once these are up. crack/drug users who have nothing to lose, really, by not paying fares will have more difficulty in accessing skytrain. As well, with the turnstiles we can get rid of zones and start to implement the "pay for distance" idea and allocate fares more, uhh, fairly

PS, the London oyster card is awesome....
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  #6  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2007, 8:16 PM
officedweller officedweller is offline
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Note - also see discussion on gates in the Metro Vancouver Transit thread.
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  #7  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2007, 10:55 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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I agree about the distance based fare structure being easier to implement. A lot of these ideas were already in the works, but you can bet Falcon will take credit for them all.

As for gates, I've always liked the Japanese style. They're always open. There's a sensor at each end that detects when you're going through and closes them immediately if you haven't put in a ticket, or an invalid ticket. (NOTE: THESE COULD BE HIGHGATE STYLE TOO) It makes line-ups move a lot quicker because you're not waiting the extra 1/2 second for the gates to open... you just continue walking after you swipe. It's even more seamless with contactless smart cards.



As for how monthly smart cards will work, you don't have to worry about it. It will all be taken care of in the software. How it happens isn't important, it will just work during that month.
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  #8  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 2:05 AM
officedweller officedweller is offline
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Is that a primary entrance/exit or asecondary one? That scale and number of gates is probably what the Canda Line and M-Line installations will look like based on station diagrams.
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  #9  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 2:10 AM
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Stingray2004 Stingray2004 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tintinium View Post
Hey... am I missing something here or can one just walk between the two gates for a hail mary pass thru?
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Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 2:29 AM
officedweller officedweller is offline
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There are 4 gates there. You scan on the right hand side. The gates slam shut if you walk through (cut a laser beam) without paying (although a couple seem to be challenged)
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  #11  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 6:36 AM
Bert Bert is offline
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I don't like the high-gate ones because in case there was a real disaster at a transit station, they'd slow people getting out of the stations although any turnstile will do that to some degree. I think low-gate, Japanese-style ones with an attendant would be the best.

The main reason I was against turnstiles was the cost, but if a private operator is willing to pay for them, so be it.
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  #12  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 6:43 AM
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mr.x mr.x is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bert View Post
I don't like the high-gate ones because in case there was a real disaster at a transit station, they'd slow people getting out of the stations although any turnstile will do that to some degree. I think low-gate, Japanese-style ones with an attendant would be the best.

The main reason I was against turnstiles was the cost, but if a private operator is willing to pay for them, so be it.
from what i know, there are both manual and electronic functions to open up all the fare gates in an event of an emergency. it's not an issue, even if the power cuts out.
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Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 6:53 AM
Bert Bert is offline
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Originally Posted by mr.x2 View Post
from what i know, there are both manual and electronic functions to open up all the fare gates in an event of an emergency. it's not an issue, even if the power cuts out.
What if the power cuts out and the attendant gets knocked out? Not the ideal situation to have high gates...
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  #14  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 6:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Bert View Post
What if the power cuts out and the attendant gets knocked out? Not the ideal situation to have high gates...
well, it does kinda apply everywhere during an earthquake....people get trapped in elevators, jammed doors, trains stop moving underground.....and those fare gate doors are plastic - how hard can it be to kick down?
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  #15  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 7:08 AM
officedweller officedweller is offline
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FYI - here's the Translink report from the Dec 7, 2005 Board Meeting when they decided NOT to exercise the option to add fare gates to the Canada Line (though the option was preserved for future implementation) - it provides an interesting read:

http://www.translink.bc.ca/files/boa...tachment_A.pdf
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  #16  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 7:13 AM
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SkyTrain fare gates earlier dismissed as too costly

Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, November 09, 2007

VANCOUVER - Putting fare gates on SkyTrain and the Canada Line would cost more than $30 million a year to install and operate and reduce fare evasion by less than $3 million, a report prepared by TransLink's staff predicted just two years ago.

On Thursday, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon announced plans to install fare gates in a bid to reduce fare evasion and improve public safety.

The proposal - which Falcon says will be paid for entirely by the province - has the support of Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, TransLink's chair.

However, in December 2005, TransLink's board overwhelmingly rejected fare gates after a detailed report by its staff found it wouldn't come anywhere close to paying for itself.

Vancouver city Coun. Peter Ladner, a TransLink board member, said Friday he was not sure why gates are a better idea now than they were two years ago.

"I'm quite puzzled by this decision and I'm looking forward to hearing the justification for it," he said.

He noted TransLink has already invested millions of dollars in hiring SkyTrain police to reduce fare evasion.

"I'd like to see ... whether we can achieve the same goal with a better use of their resources rather than jumping into a system we've previously decided didn't make economic sense," he said.

George Puil, who was chairman of TransLink from 1998 to 2003, said the board looked at fare gates twice during his tenure and was convinced both times that they cost more than they were worth.

"I think the money could be used elsewhere," he said. "You could use it to have more police ... around SkyTrain stations."

In an interview Friday, Falcon estimated that installing fare gates at all stations would cost in the "$80 million to $100 million range."

He acknowledged, however, that only covers one-time construction costs. TransLink's 2005 report estimated that, on top of that, it would also have to hire nearly 400 attendants to staff the gates, both to ensure people weren't jumping over them and to let through those who can't use them, such as people with excess luggage or in wheelchairs.

Combined with the costs of installing the new gates, amortized over 20 years, the 2005 report put the total annual cost of fare gates at $32.2 million.

In contrast, it estimated gates would reduce fare evasion by only $2.9 million. Based on extensive spot checks, TransLink estimates that about 4.9 per cent of SkyTrain revenues are lost through fare evasion.
Falcon and Brodie said they think the rate is much higher.

"There's no way in an open system you're going to be losing that little," said Falcon. He said transit operators in Europe told him their fare-evasion rates are as high as 30 per cent.


However, neither Falcon or Brodie was able to identify any flaws with the way TransLink compiled its figures.

"I just believe the numbers are higher [from] the times I've ridden the system," said Brodie. "It's not scientific, it's anecdotal. But I certainly believe it."[/color][/B]

The report states that many people believe fare evasion is higher than it really is because they see so many people get on the train without buying a ticket.

However, TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said most of those people actually have paid, either by buying a monthly pass or transferring from a bus.

Falcon said he's convinced that, over time, gates will pay for themselves by reducing evasion. But even if they don't, he said, the province thinks it is worth doing to reduce crime on transit. In the first six months of this year, TransLink's police service recorded 189 drug crimes, 381 property crimes and 239 violent crimes.


Simon Fraser University criminologist Paul Brantingham said research suggests fare gates can deter crime both on the transit system itself and around stations, by making it more of a hassle for criminals to get on.

Nancy La Vigne, an expert on transit crime at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., said it may seem strange that a two-dollar fare would deter any criminal from using SkyTrain. But she said research shows most criminals are not very motivated, committing crimes only when the opportunity arises. The hassle and cost of a turnstile, she said, will be enough for many to hang out elsewhere.

"Little changes that make things more difficult can have a big impact," she said.

cskelton@png.canwest.com


© Vancouver Sun








YouTube video: BOSTON -- The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is looking for a man who broke a gate at a subway stop early Wednesday (Aug 29th, 2007) morning to avoid paying the fare.

A security camera caught a middle-aged black male with a large build and shaved head squeeze through a passenger gate at the Green Line's Science Park at about 5:50 am on Wednesday. When the man pried apart the 1-inch glass gate, it broke.
Video Link

Last edited by mr.x; Nov 10, 2007 at 8:08 AM.
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  #17  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 5:56 PM
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natelox natelox is offline
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Originally Posted by mr.x2 View Post
"I just believe the numbers are higher [from] the times I've ridden the system," said Brodie. "It's not scientific, it's anecdotal. But I certainly believe it."
Idiot.
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  #18  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 9:24 PM
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Anyone can make unscientific, anecdotal claims but they shouldn't be the basis of a major policy change in Canada's third largest transit system.

This is BC's New Translink in operation. Minister Falcon has an idea and decides to go ahead with it, despite it being unsupported scientifically or in contravention of the legitimate board's will. Falcon doesn't even have the legal authority to do this yet. Bill 34 hasn't even been passed or the appointed board formed.

By all means let's hire some more Transit police, do a large-scale CPTED review of SkyTrain property, and a comprehensive fare evasion audit and then, only then, proceed with an $80-million-plus project once a viable business plan has been submitted by the new Translink Board to the Mayor's Board. If there is no economic and/or compelling CTED argument for fare gates why use them them? If there are why has Translink dismissed them several times over?
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Last edited by SFUVancouver; Nov 11, 2007 at 2:04 AM.
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  #19  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 10:47 PM
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Everybody here supports transit use... but the fact remains that the perception exists that riding transit can be unsafe... esp. at night... particularly by the senior and female demographic.

The Amsterdam changeover also saw a 30% increase in ridership after the fact... obviously resulting in a higher revenue stream and the accompanying reduction in greenhouse gases, for example.

Is Skytrain the only major grade-separated, quasi-subway/elevated system that does not have controlled access?

I'm still leaning in favour of the changeover, hopefully with provincial gov't financial assistance.
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  #20  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2007, 12:40 AM
officedweller officedweller is offline
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Note that the $32.2M per year includes the amortization of the initial capital costs. If those capital costs are covered by the Province, the annual operating costs should be lower than the $32.2M.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stingray2004 View Post
Is Skytrain the only major grade-separated, quasi-subway/elevated system that does not have controlled access?
If you look at the report I posted a link to, above, it shows a chart of POP systems versus annual ridership. Basically, when the Canada Line is implemented, the whole Skytrain system will be at the upper end of the POP range (currently 60M riders per year increasing to about 90-100M riders per year??). The other gated systems mentioned had riderships from 180M riders per year and up - with 100M riders per year being in the "choice of system" zone. BART is the only one mentioned in the report with gates and ridership under 100M per year.

Apart from light rail systems with at-grade middle of the street platforms, Docklands Light Railway and the Los Angeles Red Line subway are significant exclusive ROW rapid transit lines that use POP. Note sure, but I think that the various VAL systems in France (Lille, Rennes, etc.) are also POP.

As with a lot of political decisions, the balance sheet / economic analysis is not necessarily the driving force behind a lot of decisions (just look at the City of Vancouver's decision to move away from the eco-friendly wood pellet system for the SE False Creek thermal plant to a natural gas fired thermal plant, or its decision to spend over $10-20M? to add bike lanes to Burrard Bridge rather than repaint lane lines).
If the Province is going to fund the gates (capital and operation) then it'll certainly improve the perception of safety on the system for many users, and that value probably can't be quantified.
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