Metro Wants All Riders to Pay, Thwart Fare Jumpers

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is searching for ways to get people to pay their fair share when they go through the fare gates to the train.

The focus is on swing gates, the gates used by handicapped passengers to pass through, because it is too easy for others to just walk through. Metro said it is costing them potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

"Usually, it's your younger riders, your younger population looking for a way to defraud the system of straight up jump the turnstiles," said Metro Transit police Chief Ron Pavlik.

“We are looking at solutions for the current swing gate that would reduce fare evasion by channeling customers through the proper gates, while preserving the full emergency egress function and allow use for customers with disabilities,” said Metro in a statement.

Metro said fare gate changes could be on the way, specifically with the swing gate next to station kiosks. Locking the swing gate may be an option, but is the answer also more enforcement?

“I still haven't a Metro police officer on an actual train itself,” said Metro rider Aldo Iafrate. “But for the stations, yeah, maybe a little more presence."

General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld sent an internal memo to his personnel, telling them the transit agency is in the early stages of looking for a fix.

Metro has tried to work on fare payments before, using a pilot program in 2015.

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