Metro riders have had it easy for decades.
As the nation's only major transit agency that doesn't equip its stations with turnstiles and security barriers, Metro uses the honor system. Riders can buy a ticket or risk it and hope they're not approached by a transit officer.
That might be changing.
Now, eight turnstiles are in use on a trial basis at the Alameda Street portal for the Red Line stop in Union Station, and five are operating at the Wilshire-Normandie station. By the end of the month, 12 turnstiles are scheduled to be installed at the Pershing Square station and 10 at Westlake-MacArthur Park, according to The Times.
If the system works well -- a progress report is due by the end of September -- the MTA will proceed with a $46 million plan to install 387 turnstiles and related security fences by early 2010 at all subway and Green Line light-rail stations and at selected stops for the Blue Line and Gold Line light-rail trains, The Times reported.
The fine for lacking a ticket -- up to $250 -- still hasn't deterred some riders from taking their chances. Cheaters cost the system at least $5 million a year in lost revenue, the Los Angeles Times reported.