MetroLink Fare Collection

All the ways we move people and things: trains, planes, automobiles, biking, walking, etc.
bprop wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:03 pm
eee123 wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:25 am
I've been a "tester" for 18 months for the Gateway Card, and it's awesome. I ride the bus 10x more than I ever did before, due to not having to worry about having cash for the bus.

It's also awesome not to have to break out my wallet at a Metro vending machine next to a bunch of sketchy characters. Rather, I can re-up my card at the vending machines that aren't swarming with weirdos. Internet loading would be nice, but I don't think we've gotten there yet (or have we?).

How many years have they been testing this now? Gotta be some kind of record.
I assume they give the capability of buying unlimited (weekly/monthly) passes?
I was under the assumption they were a loadable card that you can add cash and your passes too. So for me - you never uses the bus or metro. I can throw $20 on there and if I want to jump on a bus one day, instead of needing to go buy a pass somewhere or have cash, I can use the gateway card.

One of the reasons i never use the bus or metro is I need cash or i have to sit at a ticket thing at metro stops. I never have cash.
I was a tester for the gateway card also. My employer started providing monthly passes so I don't use the gateway card anymore. The only good thing about it is that you can re-up it at the machines without having to go and buy the monthly card at Schmucks or wherever. But they expect you to tap it at the validation machine every time you ride, which was annoying. The fare inspectors really didn't like dealing with the new card, and the scanners they used (when they had them!) took a long time, or multiple attempts, to read the cards. At this point it looks like the gateway card is the fare collection technology of the future, and always will be.

http://www.mygatewaycard.com/
^OMG, you have to tap it against something EVERY TIME YOU RIDE? What a big ask. That's so cumbersome, reaching all the way into your pocket, lifting your card (maybe even your whole wallet!) and having to tap it. That does sound super annoying.

Give me parking or give me death.
The tapping argument is dumb, but I don't get the need to tap (validate) a monthly pass, when it's already valid all the time for the given time period. What exactly does the validating an already valid pass accomplish?

I think the fare inspectors are slowly getting better equipment to make the checking of Gateway Passes less onerous.
eee123 wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:25 pm
The tapping argument is dumb, but I don't get the need to tap (validate) a monthly pass, when it's already valid all the time for the given time period. What exactly does the validating an already valid pass accomplish?
Monthly passes don't need to be validated per ride, much less at all. There is a start and end date on the pass. I frequently would put one in my wallet and wouldn't touch it till i threw it away 30 days later.
You have to validate a monthly pass when boarding a bus, so I guess it's supposed to be akin to that.
^ Isn't "tap to validate" how it works in pretty much every city?

When are they going to start issuing the Gateway RFID card at the vending machines? (This has been around in Chicago as long as I can remember)

When are they going to start accepting the Gateway RFID card for payment for bus trips? (This has been around in Chicago as long as I can remember)
I have cards from DC, Seattle, LA, and Christchurch NZ.
StlToday - After 5-year delay, Metro begins offering smart card payment option

http://www.stltoday.com/news/traffic/al ... 47266.html
In case anyone is wondering, yes they've been testing these cards for several years. They started offering them to the general public on March 1st but I'm guessing they didn't advertise it much so they could get a slow rollout. Another testing phase per se. I've noticed that within the last couple days, they've been publicizing it a lot more.

(this belongs on another thread but I'll go ahead and add this quick note)
They switched the Westbound track over to the new Cortex station over the weekend. Travel headaches abound, took me a full hour to get from downtown to Shrewsbury, but it's worth it. All westbound trains should be rolling through the new station by now. The still have to do the same for the Eastbound track.
Mayor Lyda Krewson @LydaKrewson
Today we're making it a little easier for younger St. Louisans to reach summer jobs, rec centers & all that our region has to offer. Introducing @STLMetro's Gateway Go card, offering half-price bus & MetroLink fares for riders age 13-25. How to get a card:
http://www.metrostlouis.org/gatewaygo/
Sounds like a great idea. Definitely will be picking one up.
Bill McClellan is not a fan of the "honor system":

https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/col ... aec34.html
From that McClellan piece:
MetroLink. There is the magic word. Unlike most cities, our light rail operates on an honor system.
This is a widespread fallacy that I'm getting pretty tired of hearing. Does no one in this country take transit in places that aren't NYC or Chicago?

Nearly every city's rail system in the US operates on proof of payment. Just ones that I've ridden: Denver, Dallas, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Seattle, Portland.

Our problem is a total lack of enforcement and accountability by law enforcement groups paid to police the system. Not the proof of payment system.

Denver just spent a ton extending their rail to the airport, and their transit cops check your fare twice in each direction.
Every transit system I've ridden requires proof of purchase—Chicago, DC, Atlanta, London, Paris, Prague...
It's common. No paid ticket, no passing the turnstiles.

I sense Metro, like a fledgling tech-startup, is more interested in users than paid-users.
Proof of payment is standard in US light rail systems.
Light-rail systems constructed in the past 20 years are all proof-of-payment systems like St. Louis. They include San Diego, Sacramento, San Jose, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix (under construction), Denver, Los Angeles. Most of the light-rail systems (not subway) in Europe are also proof of payment, as are some of the bus systems.
https://www.metrostlouis.org/nextstop/w ... right-now/
I feel like enforcement is a much more viable solution.

I wonder if we just have enforcement that either a) can't do their jobs legally, b) won't do their jobs because of leadership, c) ignore their responsibilities because they don't care, or d) are afraid to do their jobs because of the inherent danger.

If we just upped enforcement on each platform, the situation would right itself so much more quickly than installing turnstiles in my opinion. While turnstiles could solve some fare collection issues, it's still not a real barrier to crime on the Link. Platform enforcement visibility tackles both the fare evasion and crime issues all at once with as little price of entry as possible.
shadrach wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:36 pm
Every transit system I've ridden requires proof of purchase—Chicago, DC, Atlanta, London, Paris, Prague...
It's common. No paid ticket, no passing the turnstiles.

I sense Metro, like a fledgling tech-startup, is more interested in users than paid-users.
You haven't ridden many light rail systems them.
Now, 21st century tech is making it easier than ever to blow up the turnstile. Modernized, cash-free fare payment methods—like reloadable tap-and-go cards, or apps that let riders use smartphones to get tickets, Apple Pay-style—speed up boarding. Passengers don't have to struggle past fare gates. They can board through any door, instead of pushing through a bus's front entrance to pay the driver.

The result: Faster vehicles, less crowding, and thus more frequent service, leading (hopefully) to more riders overall. Meanwhile, data collected from systems using modernized proof of payment methods don’t show fare evasion skyrocketing. People, it turns out, mostly follow the rules—especially if they know getting caught in a spot check carries a hefty fine.
https://www.wired.com/2016/12/ignoring- ... er-richer/

There's a reason that Metro didn't have the problems it does today between 1994 and 2013 or so. And it wasn't that they had turnstiles back then.
Systems that have turnstiles still have fare checkers, it's pretty easy for two people to go through a turnstile at once. I got a 30 Euro fine in Paris from Fare Inspectors because I accidentally threw away my Metro ticket, forgetting I needed that ticket for the Exit turnstile. People in Atlanta also cry about the crime on MATRA despite their use of turnstiles.

You also have to keep in mind why Light Rail uses the honor system in the first place. Most stations have grade level pedestrian crossings. If someone wants to bypass a turnstile, they can just run along the tracks for 20 feet and hop on the platform, creating a major safety hazard.

As for there being no European subways with the honor system, Athens' and Copenhagen's rapid transit systems both use it.

MetroLink's crime perception problem lies with the lack transit oriented development in STL and the continued degradation of bus service i.e. the lack of ridership. I know plenty of people that would happily use the system but housing and job options at stations are extremely lacking. The only good housing on the system is either inflated by WashU students or downtown.
"Dysfunctional region can't enforce transit rules":

https://www.stltoday.com/opinion/mailba ... c3bb8.html
Amsterdam streetcars have sensors just inside the doors where you wave your pass. A man is stationed right there at each door watching. I’m guessing the car won’t move if someone gets on without a valid pass. He won’t let the door close possibly, or he signals the system somehow. He might be able to sell you a pass onboard, like a bus, but I didn’t see that. More likely he’ll just ask you to catch the next one after updating your pass.


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^ Just FYI, that is true on most but not all trams in Amsterdam. Some lines don't have conductor cabins.
I was recently in Istanbul and they have a very nice system with turnstiles and open air tram stations

Image

Basically, they have the waiting area accessible only via the turnstiles and barriers such that it is possible, but not zero effort, to bypass the turnstiles. Better than what we have now in my opinion.
Why Don't We Have Free Public Transit?
Estonia just rolled out the largest free public transit scheme in the world.
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/arti ... sportation