MTA officials announced this week that as part of an effort to crack down on the “super highway of fare evasion,” emergency exit gates at a few subway stations will soon take 15 seconds to open.
NYC Transit President Richard Davey said riders have found it easy to slip through emergency doors when they’re opened from the inside. Officials assume this to be the leading assist in riders skipping the subway fare, which cost the agency $285 million in 2022.
In efforts to rectify the situation, come mid-February, the gates will be reconfigured with 15-second delays at three stations: The 138th Street-Third Avenue station on the 6 lines, Flushing Avenue on the J, M, and Z lines, and 59th Street on the 4, 5 and 6 lines.
MTA officials said they chose those three stations because even if the emergency gates won’t open for 15 seconds, the selected hubs have enough turnstiles for masses of riders to quickly escape actual emergencies, like a fire or terrorist attack.
“We’ve been very careful about this, gone to the state code authority and gotten a waiver, which is basically everyone saying that we still have a safe station,” said MTA President of Construction and Development Jamie Torres-Springer.
According to Davey, the agency already tested the trick out at a set of emergency gates at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall station — and that it worked in “frustrating” riders who tried to use the exits when there was no emergency.
“So that’s the goal, to frustrate folks who might want to be using that as a matter of convenience, where you have a perfectly good turnstile next [to it].”
There is no word on whether or not this “test” will roll out at other stations citywide, but we will be sure to keep you updated!