Faregates with improved design installed at WMATA’s Fort Totten Station

July 25, 2023
The gate design has been finalized after months of testing prototypes.

New faregates being installed at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Fort Totten Station are being described as taller, stronger and more resilient as the authority continues efforts to reduce fare evasion.

The new faregates are part of a systemwide rollout and include a design that has been improved on following months of testing protype designs. The final product includes an L-shape door panel that extends over the faregate to minimize gaps between the openings. The faregates will be 55 inches tall versus the 28-inch height of existing gates and 48-inch height of the protype. The new gates will have polycarbonate swing doors that are 200 times stronger than glass, lighter weight and more durable. The final design also includes more robust hinges and a more powerful motor to strengthen the door.

The design changes, which make the gates taller than a hockey net or almost half the height of a standard basketball hoop, will make it more difficult to jump over the faregates.

“Over the past several months, our team has been testing different prototypes to get to this final design. We have already seen a reduction in fare evasion and expect the higher gates will be more of a deterrent,” said WMATA General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke. “The bottom line is fare evasion is not okay, and we will continue our efforts to ensure everyone is respecting the community’s system and each other.”

WMATA began a project in summer 2021 to replace all faregates across the Metrorail system with modernized units that include enhanced safety features, larger displays and faster processing. In November 2022, the authority began testing the prototype gates to mitigate fare evasion. 

With the design of the new faregates finalized, the modifications will be installed in phases, with plans to retrofit faregates throughout the system over the next year. Following Fort Totten and Pentagon City, the first phase of the faregate installation project will include Bethesda, Vienna, Mt. Vernon Sq., Addison Road, Congress Heights, Wheaton, Federal Center SW and Court House stations. The first 10 stations are expected to be completed by early fall.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.