City examines Vancouver methods to combat fare evaders

The City of Calgary is losing more than $4 million annually because of transit riders who don’t pay to use the system. But the city says that it isn’t looking at installing smart gates to crackdown on fare evaders.

These gates would block anyone who hasn’t paid their fare from walking out of the C-train platforms potentially generating more revenue for public transit.

They have already been installed in Vancouver, where fare evaders had cost the transit system there $18 million in 2011.

Daniel Fontaine, the former Vancouver mayor’s chief of staff thinks that smart-gates are a good way to combat fare evasion and make the transit system fairer.

“If we use technology properly, we’re able to actually charge users who use the The City of Calgary may consider installing a new system to help prevent fare evasion on Calgary’s light rail transit system.

Photo by Paulina Liwskisystem more appropriately for the amount of transit that they are using, “said Fontaine.

Jordan Bateman, British Colombia director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, also feels that smart gates are a necessary part of a major transit system.

“If transit isn’t extracting fares from customers as much as possible, then they are not running their system sustainably. “

Fontaine, who uses transit often, points out fare gates are not 100 per cent fool-proof because they don’t have security guards standing around them, enforcing their use.

However, he said “They are monitored by security cameras, so if a person gets through without paying, they will get caught on camera.”

Despite such benefits, Calgary Transit spokesperson Brian Whitelaw says the City of Calgary is not planning on installing smart-gates on all of its C-train platforms to stop fare evaders.

He said that Calgary’s city council has instead created a high enforcement transit team that tackles fare evasion during rush hour.

“The high enforcement transit team has helped decreased the fare evasion rate in Calgary by one per cent. “

pliwski@cjournal.ca