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Taller faregate doors installed at Vienna Metro station

The faregates at the Vienna Metro station are sporting a new look.

Workers installed taller doors on the gates on Aug. 9 as part of a systemwide retrofit project intended to combat fare evasion, which costs Metro an estimated $40 million per year in lost revenue, according to the transit agency.

“The bottom line is fare evasion is not okay, and we will continue our efforts to ensure everyone is respecting the community’s system and each other,” Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority CEO and General Manager Randy Clarke said in a news release announcing the rollout of the project last month.

The Vienna station is the only one in Fairfax County to be featured in the project’s first phase, which also includes stations in Arlington, D.C. and Maryland.

The first phase is expected to be completed by early fall. A Metro spokesperson says there are no updates yet beyond that initial timeline, but all 103 rail stations are slated to get the retrofit over the next year.

At 55 inches tall, the new doors are stronger and more resilient than the original faregates, which were updated just last year, WMATA said.

The new design includes an L-shape door panel that extends over the faregate to minimize gaps between the openings. The increase in barrier height from the original 28 to 48-inch prototype to 55 inches will also make it more difficult to jump over faregates. The new height is taller than a hockey net or nearly half the height of a standard basketball hoop.

The swing doors are made of a polycarbonate which is 200 times stronger than glass, lighter weight, and more durable. The final design also includes more robust hinges and a more powerful motor to strengthen the door. As stations are retrofitted with the new barriers, Metro is also raising the height of fencing and emergency gates.

Metro will install a single door panel for all regular faregates, and double door panels at the wider gates for accessibility and wheelchairs.

Prior to the rollout of the new doors, Metro launched a reduced fare program that lets SNAP recipients who live in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. ride its trains and buses at a 50% discount.

“To-date, more than 1600 customers have enrolled, taking nearly 17,000 combined trips,” WMATA said on July 24.

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