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Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Newer Way to Evade the Muni Metro Gates

If you thought the Muni metro gate fiasco is over, think again. Muni is still working with Cubic to fix the existing problem of people using their hand to open a gate, but now there's another way to enter the system with much less effort.

Since many Muni metro stations have two booths, a primary booth manned all the time and a secondary booth normally during weekday rush hours and some weekends, the agency has instated a new policy:
  • Passengers with valid proof of payment, other than Clipper cards and paper magnetic stripe passes, can now enter the metro system by using the gate closest to the unmanned booth (sign shown in the photo). The gate is unlocked when a passenger walks towards it.
It's not a big shock to me, because it's just another way to evade the system, just like the swing gates were used during the 30+ year era of the turnstiles.

On one hand, it's another way to evade the system if you don't have valid proof of payment, but the other benefit is that if you have a pass or paper transfer not compatible with the gates, there's an easy way to enter the system than hauling your butt to the other set of gates.

Even if the booth is unmanned and there's fare inspectors nearby, they might not even notice those who are evading because they are not doing the hand trick over the sensor. Someone could act like they are tagging their Clipper card (using some non-RFID card) and enter the system, and it doesn't look suspect at all. The flipside of this is if a passenger with no intention of evading tags their card improperly and they walk through the gate doors that opens automatically (without the need to tag); the Clipper card is invalid (not tagged) and may get cited by an inspector for evasion during their journey or when exiting.

Here's the sign in full:
New Muni Metro Sign

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