Construction of Surrey SkyTrain turnstiles begins this fall

It’s hoped faregates will decrease transit fare evasion.

Construction of faregates will begin this fall and winter and should be fully operational throughout the SkyTrain system by 2013.

Construction on the new TransLink faregate system – designed to quash fare evasion and create a safer transit experience – is scheduled to begin this fall at the King George SkyTrain station.

Once operational, the four-foot-high paddle gates will only open after detecting an active Compass card, which will replace all existing transit passes, tickets and eventually cash for fare payment.

At each station, there will also be faregates accessible to people who use wheelchairs, travel with strollers or are carrying luggage.

Surrey’s other SkyTrain stations – Scott Road, Gateway and Surrey Central – will also be under construction in the fall and early winter to accommodate the new system.

“There will be the normal construction boardings put up – large boards to separate the general public area from the job site,” said TransLink spokesperson, Drew Snider. “There will also be signs, showing people the route around the workplaces.”

The total cost for both the faregates and Compass card projects is approximately $171 million: the province is providing $40 million; the federal government $30 million from the Building Canada Fund.

A recent TransLink report stated that Metro Vancouver’s regional transportation authority will gain $89 million in reduced fare evasion over the next 15 years.

When asked which Surrey SkyTrain stations are the worst offenders for fare evasion, Snider said transit police don’t keep those records. However, last year a reporter obtained fare evasion data and worked it out himself.

“According to (the reporter’s) calculations, Gateway is the third-worst station on the SkyTrain system (excluding the Canada Line) for fare evasion: 11.4 per cent of passengers checked did not have the proper fare,” revealed Snider.

Faregates, together with the Compass card, will also collect data about when and where transit users are traveling, which will aid TransLink in determining future system upgrades.

The faregate system it expected to be fully operational in 2013.

For more information on construction at Surrey SkyTrain stations visit www.translink.ca/ontrack.

— with files from Jeff Nagel

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