Protect Disabled Riders of Public Transportation from Injury

Target: Bevan Dufty, SFBART Board President

Goal: Protect disabled public transportation riders from serious injury.

Disabled riders of public transportation are being forced to risk their safety every time they enter San Francisco’s trains. When San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (SFBART) announced new, double-height fare gates in 2018, disability advocates began protesting them as dangerous to wheelchair-bound travelers. Now, with the gates in use across parts of the system, these worries have been vindicated. Demand SFBART end the policy, not expand it, and protect the safety of all riders.

In response to claims of rampant non-payment among its ridership, SFBART began introducing double-tall fare gates at its Bay Area subway stations last year. As San Francisco’s Examiner reported in June, these gates “feature two sets of mechanical wedges that cinch together after BART riders pass through them [and were] designed … to stay shut with more pressure to prevent them from being forced open by fare cheats.”

The problem is that wheelchair users and other passengers with disabilities face potentially severe injuries because of the design, as advocates like Corbett O’Toole, Tara Ayres, and others have told SFBART repeatedly. Throughout June, SFBART expanded adoption of the gates anyway, including at the busy Richmond station, and the agency has continued locking side gates at stations – the only means of entering for many with mobility restrictions.

This is an unacceptable indifference to those who rely on the Bay Area’s mass transit. Demand SFBART’s Board revisit this exclusionary policy and remove the new gate designs immediately.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear SFBART Board President Bevan Dufty,

When SFBART announced plans for new fare gates in the region’s system last year, disability advocates alerted you to how this would make travel harder – and with the double-height gate design, possibly physically dangerous. Now that several gates are in service, their concerns have been vindicated. You must stop implementing these dangerous new gates.

As the Examiner, Chronicle, and others have reported, these new gates often close exactly at head-height for wheelchair users. Because these gates close with greater force than existing ones, the risks are far too high – and the lost fares, even if in the millions, cannot justify continuing these changes.

We insist you remove the new gates throughout SFBART’s system and reach out to the advocates you have ignored. Any solution to fare evasion must respect—and protect—them.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Lensovet




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One Comment

  1. The SFBART’S BOARD needs to get out of their fancy chairs & redo the policy of this gate that will allow all those who are disabled to be able to enter the train station safely. Will it take a death before they see that elderly & disabled persons do not move as fast as some others??? Remember THEY to one day will be old or disabled if they live long enough!!!Peoples lives & safety are more important that this new gate!!!

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