The federal and provincial governments and TransLink will invest $100 million in the project. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2010 and is planned to coincide with proposed Expo Line station expansions.
According to today’s press releases, TransLink and the federal and provincial governments believe that implementing controlled access to SkyTrain stations will improve passenger safety and increase transit ridership.
Electronic fare cards are to be swiped by transit users before and after riding the SkyTrain and will allow the Smart Card system to collect data on ridership use and frequency. TransLink intends to use this information to “match service levels with demand more effectively”.
TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast acknowledged in the authority’s press release that a Smart Card system that collects ridership and service figures “can be done independently of fare gates”.
The press release states that Vancouverites “have perceived for some time that a greater sense of security will result from the introduction of fare gates”. It suggests that the absence of fare gates—and the accompanying perceived safety risk to transit users—discourages people from using public transportation.
According to Prendergast, the new fare gates will reassure the public that “fare evasion issues are being addressed” and will increase ridership.
Both releases did not mention if and how transit fares will be affected by implementing fare gates and a Smart Card system.