Muni is in the process of installing new metro fare gates and ticketing machines. I was able to photograph two stations with major installations happening.
Muni's current fare gates have been in existence for over 25 years (basically, since the metro system was born) and they are getting old. The machines can jam on occasion, and a lot of people take their sweet time shoving $2 worth of coins into the machine just to enter the system. The machines are not dollar bill friendly and the station agents encourage customers to use their change machines to get the dollar coins, or rip-off BART's ticketing machines for quarters. The machines are so old, you might find one on the electronic screen that says "ASS or $2.00."
The New Fare Gates:
Muni is finally giving the old fare gates the heave-ho and welcoming a new generation of fare gates. Since Muni is transitioning to Clipper, so does the new fare gates taking advantage of the RFID card technology. The gates will not accept coins and will accept Clipper cards and Muni's "limited use" paper Clipper cards. The gates have also been fitted with temporary card swipe devices because while the gates will be eventually in service, certain paper Muni passes will still be in use until April 2011.
Instead of the classic turnstile we have been used to, they now have doors that open both ways. There is also a wide gate for disabled, those with baby carriages and luggage.
The New Ticketing Machines:
Since the fare gates will not accept coins, the metro stations must have ticketing machines, similar to BART's ticketing machines. Clipper card users can check on their balance, add e-cash, and add passes (including those from other agencies). For the casual passenger, they can purchase a brand new plastic Clipper card or purchase Muni fare with a paper "limited use" Clipper card.
The "limited use" Clipper card is going to be a unique feature for Muni metro. There will be no more spitting out of transfers from the fare gates; passengers will get a paper version of a Clipper card with the rights and privileges that cash paying customers get, such as 90 minute transfers. The big disadvantages of the paper card is it will cost $0.25 for every "limited use" ticket issued, can only be used on Muni, and the lifespan of the card is 90 days (OK to reload funds).
Currently, the gates and ticketing machines are not yet ready for public use. You can find the new gates and ticketing machines at Civic Center secondary/east gates, and just the ticketing machines at Powell Station (both entrances).
To view all the photos, click here or watch the slideshow below: