Last year, Metro de Madrid launched an open fare gates pilot test, keeping the fare gates permanently open for customers, and closing only when someone tries to pass through without validating their ticket.
The trial started in February 2018 at Alsacia station and continued at four other stations in late March. Currently, 33 stations are using the open fare gates system.
The project has two objectives. The first is to improve passenger flow, as travellers do not have to wait for the doors to open, which is especially useful during rush hours.
The second objective is to save energy and maintenance costs. The fare gates are the one of the most used elements on the network, and a high energy consumer. Using this method, Metro de Madrid estimates a 75% drop in fare gate usage.
Effective against fare dodgers?
Metro de Madrid wants to keep a close eye on fare dodgers. The systems’s performance against fare evasion will be monitored over the coming year.
Fare evasion is a major issue for mass transit companies, causing billions of euros in losses annually. In Europe alone, it is estimated that fare evasion losses amount to €2.9bn yearly.
Besides the economic impact, fare evasion can make paying passengers feel unsafe, and lead to acts of incivility in public transport.
Breakthrough technologies using AI Video Analytics provide an alternative solution to tackle fare evasion at fare gates, by detecting infractions through video streams in real-time.