Glitch in new Muni fare gates opens up opportunities for scofflaws

It’s been barely a month since Muni unveiled its new $30 million fare gates, and already customers have found glitches in the system.

The fare gates, designed to integrate the multiagency Clipper card into the Muni system, open automatically when passengers exit out of the paid zones in the agency’s downtown Metro stations. Picking up on this phenomenon, passengers have realized that it only takes a wave of the hand over the fare gates’ motion sensors to open up the doors and allow for free passage to the Metro trains.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose, acknowledged the glitch, but said fare evasion is nothing new on the system.

“There were ways to manipulate the old turnstiles without paying,” said Rose. “There are always going to be cases of fare evasion, no matter what kind of fare gate we have.”

Rose said the agency has no plans to replace the fare gates or to tweak its motion sensor technology. Instead, they plan on deploying their transit fare inspectors to specific sites in the downtown station to deter fare evasion. The Police Department is also helping the agency monitor the situation. Passengers who get caught trying to evade fares are slapped with a $75 citation.

“Once you get past that turnstile, we’re going to have fare inspectors there to enforce our policy,” said Rose.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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