November last year, Lille’s metro (France) installed fare gates in one of its stations. Four months later, results were very positive. Ticket validation has risen sharply -up to more than 16%-, meaning 700 additional validations on average per day.
In 2013, the public transport operator for the Lille Métropole, Transpole, registered a 18.4% fraud rate. This figure was one of the worst in France. Consequently, Métropole Européenne de Lille (MEL) announced a plan to implement fare gates in the network’s sixty stations. Gare Lille-Europe station was the first step. During 2018, six more stations will introduce access controls and by 2020 the whole network will operate with fare gates.
The deployment of fare gates aims to reduce Transpole’s fare evasion rate to 5% by 2024. This would represent significant savings since a point of fraud represents a loss of 800,000 euros in revenue, according to MEL’s president, Damien Castelain. In addition, the operator hopes to improve passengers’ comfort. French newspaper La Voix du Nord unveiled a poll showing a rise in the feeling of insecurity, especially in the subway.
The total investment for the installation of these gates will be more than 60 million euros. Moreover, controller workforce will increase from 230 to 250. The potential expected gain is 5 million per year, according to MEL.
Fare gates at TGV stations too
Lille is not the only French city undergoing important transport changes. Paris is considering offering free public transport, whilst the fast train operator SNCF is also implementing fare gates. The French transport company aims to equip 14 major TGV stations with automatic ticket validation doors. The measure has a double objective: fight fare evasion, which costs SNCF 100 million euros annually, and improve travelers’ safety.