MTA barrier gates: freedom!
This probably makes me weird, but I'm glad to see that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board will be putting barrier gates in subway stations. The gates, which will go up in Red Line, Purple Line and some light rail outposts, will be installed over the next 18 to 24 months.
Metro says the gates will "prevent fare evasion, provide for seamless travel and improve transit station security." Perhaps. All I know is that they'll mean I won't have to fly into a panic every time I see uniformed personnel board the train car I'm riding, looking for proof that I paid my fare. It's not that I haven't procured my little paper ticket; it's that invariably I've forgotten where I put it. Or that, once I think I've found it, it turns out to be a ticket from some journey taken months in the past.
I don't want to worry about this stuff. Like the longtime New York subway rider I used to be, I want to pay my fare, squirrel away my farecard, and use my commuting time to zone out and avoid making eye contact with people. Is this freedom--a modest mental vacation--worth tens of millions of dollars to the city, which stands to recoup $5.5 million in annual fare evasion losses? Possibly not. But this occasional Red Line commuter will appreciate it, all the same.