Fifteen Second Delay to be Implemented at Some MTA Emergency Exits

Fifteen Second Delay to be Implemented at Some MTA Emergency Exits

C.G. Hoffman

The MTA has been trying to stem the tide of a yearly $700 million loss due to fare evasion. Its latest focus has been on emergency exit gates, which MTA officials call “the superhighway” for farebeaters. The emergency exit doors are there for emergencies, although they are commonly used for disabled commuters or people with strollers. When they are opened, they create a window of opportunity for fare evaders who might otherwise have paid at the regular turnstiles.

The MTA has announced a pilot program where some emergency exit doors will be opened after a 15 second delay, thus hopefully deterring fare evaders who hope for a quick exit. The program will be implemented in the Bronx, 59th St./Lexington Ave. in Manhattan, and Flushing Ave. in Brooklyn.

“By introducing the delayed egress, we maintain the emergency exit capacity while making it more difficult to open it on a regular basis,” James Torres-Springer said at the MTA’s Capital Program Committee meeting on Jan. 29.

In case of emergency, those stations have other means of exit for evacuation and officials assured that the delay would not jeopardize the security of passengers. In addition, MTA staffers can override the 15 second delay in case of emergency.

The MTA has unrolled a variety of initiatives to combat the escalating numbers of fare evasion. This includes deploying more police officers and deploying private security guards, as well as redesigning turnstiles. Although derided for not being fare-evader-proof, officials say the stations that have installed the new turnstiles have seen an increase in revenue of 20%.

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