MTA launches wide-aisle fare gates and new customer service center

Dec. 5, 2023
The installation of modern fare gate technology at Sutphin Boulevard–Archer Avenue–JFK Airport ​​​ Station will replace the emergency exit gate at that end of the station while the new customer service center features enhanced accessibility.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has launched its first low turnstile fare array replacement with new wide-aisle fare gates at Sutphin Boulevard–Archer Avenue–JFK Airport ​​​ Station in Jamaica, Queens.

“This new generation of fare gates is critical not only to advancing accessibility but also preventing fare evasion, which threatens the financial wellbeing of our entire transit system,” said MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “More than half of all subway fare evasion occurs through emergency exit gates and this redesign of our fare array infrastructure will eliminate this opportunity.”

The installation of modern fare gate technology will replace the emergency exit gate at that end of the station, which was a major contributor to subway fare evasion. The wide-aisle design of the new faregates allows customers with strollers, wheelchairs and luggage to smoothly enter the system, allowing the MTA to examine the feasibility of placing new fare gates at other stations in the future. 

“It’s exciting to see the first full fare array of wide aisle gates in our system, another step in our efforts to make our stations more accessible for all riders, including those with mobility devices, strollers and luggage,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer and Senior Advisor Quemuel Arroyo. “These gates also help combat fare evasion, not just making it harder to skip the fare but easier for customers who want to do the right thing to pay their fare, easily and seamlessly."

In addition to the wide-aisle gate installation, four traditional turnstiles were installed at the north end of the mezzanine to enhance customer flow. All new fare gates are equipped with OMNY, the MTA’s new tap-and-go fare collection system.

“With a direct link to the AirTrain the Sutphin Boulevard – Archer Av – JFK Airport subway station is often visitors’ first introduction to New York, making it a perfect spot for a new customer service center and wide aisle fare gates,” said MTA Acting Chief Customer Officer Shanifah Rieara. “The station agents at the center will help both first time customers navigate the system and long-time customers with any issues that may arise.”

The MTA also announced the opening of a new customer service center, making this station the 14th center in the subway system. Customer service centers provide services historically limited to 3 Stone St. located in Lower Manhattan but now enable the authority to meet customers where they are directly in stations in their home boroughs.

Centers comprise repurposed booths, new retail outlets and feature enhanced accessibility, OMNY technology and a dedicated, more welcoming visual presentation for customers, including new lighting, branded wrapping and canopies with enhanced customer service functions such as station agents on hand to assist in converting riders to OMNY, signing up for reduced-fare and helping troubleshoot general concerns.

“As we open more customer service centers, we are providing support directly to riders where they are,” said New York City (NYC) Transit Senior Vice President of Subways Demetrius Crichlow. “Finding ways to enhance customer flow with new fare gates and at busy stations like Sutphin Boulevard – Archer Avenue – JFK AirTrain is another indication of NYC Transit’s commitment to providing the best transit experience possible.”

“New York City Transit’s North Star is improving the customer experience and we are doing just that at Sutphin Boulevard by introducing new, easier to access, fare gates and by opening our 14th customer service center,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey. “Customers traveling to and from JFK with their luggage, commuters transferring from the LIRR at Jamaica and local commuters can look forward to faster, more accessible journeys and a more welcoming station environment.”

NYC Transit plans to open another center before the end of the year.

“Modernizing our century-old subway system isn’t just a necessary investment structurally, it’s a critical move toward ensuring Queens commuters of any ability can easily and safely travel to any destination in the city. That’s exactly what today’s announcement entails,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Thank you to the MTA for its efforts to support southeast Queens riders and strengthen one of our community’s most important transit hubs.”