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Metro Having Trouble Adding Turnstiles to Light Rail Stations

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Metro successfully installed turnstiles at all the stations on our heavy rail system--the Red and Purple lines, which run completely underground and don't have an overhead wire--but the light rail system is proving to be more complicated, according to the blog of County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. The aerial and underground light rail stops can be turnstiled no prob, but at-grade (ground level) stations present a problem, since they're typically smaller than grade-separated stations and turnstiles would cause back-ups. All the light rail lines have at least a few stations with turnstiles, but a total of 41 stations still do not, though Metro is studying the possibility of latching 14 more. What's annoying is that none of the Expo Line stops have turnstiles, even though the line was built in the last seven years. The extension to Santa Monica will have seven new stations and two will be without turnstiles--while Yaroslavsky doesn't say which ones, it'll have to be Westwood, Bergamot Station, or Seventeenth Street stations, which are all at-grade.

For the light rail system's ground-level stations, Metro is installing more TAP card validators, hoping their presence will encourage people to swipe their fare cards and pay for their ride. All this talk about gates and latching may seem like something of a waste of time, but it's not: the subway stations with turnstiles reported a 22 percent increase in fares for August, translating to more than $614,000.
· Gate Latching Hits a Roadblock [Zev Web]