Well, well, well. Look what we have here...
The Militant has been riding (M) Rail ever since the very first day of the Blue Line -- it was a Bastille Day, in 1990. He even rode the Red Line on its 1993 inaugural (heck, he's so militant, he even got to ride it five months before it opened in a private preview tour, in a borrowed Miami heavy rail car, but we won't talk about that in any more detail).
So to see one of these...these...turnstile thingies. Very odd.
He happened upon them on Monday at Union Station, en route to the Dodger game (sorry, no Dodger Trolley, just an operative pick-up). Sure this may or may not have already been blogged about before, but the Militant doesn't care. He wants his say, damnit.
First off, despite his grumblings, the Militant can get used to this new trasnit-boarding paradigm in Los Angeles. But why the dull aluminum finish? Some of its stations are already OD'ed in aluminum already, all the more when an aluminum-clad rail car shoots in, with people riding up aluminum escalators and eventually leaving via aluminum fare turnstiles. Mph.
Second, wassup with the triple-spoked turnstile gate? Are we headed into an old-fashioned amusement park? A day at the stadium (well, okay, the Militant was)? They look too east-coast for this Militant. Come on! We're the more modern subway! Why not something quasi-futuristic like the (nearly 40-year-old) wedge-gates of Frisco's BART system? The triple-spoked design is even less fare-evasion resistant, as fare-jumpers who can do under-the-spoke limbo or over-the spoke gymnastic moves can sneak in for a free ride. Um, wasn't that the whole purpose of these things in the first place? To minimize fare evasion?
Third, don't expect to actually use these things for a loooong time. As if the wait for this thing, or even this thing isn't long enough, the new turnstiles, after being installed in all 14 Red/Purple Line stations, still require the universal acceptance of Metro's TAP Card in order to operate. The paper tickets (which obviously lack the RFID chip used to activate TAP) don't seem to be going the way of the mastodon quite just yet. And as for the tens of thousands of Metrolink riders who transfer to and from trains at Union Station (and whose passes are honored on (M) Rail trains as transfers)? No TAP-like card is in the works for the commuter rail system in the forseeable future, nor has the incorporation of TAP as Metrolink fare media even been considered.
The turnstiles currently bear an instructional banner hanging overhead informing paper-ticketed and Metrolink pass-bearing passengers to simply walk through them (as they are currently non-locked) and TAP-bearing riders to TAP anyways, just because that little beeping sound is kinda neat. The Militant predicts we won't see fully-functional turnstiles until we get to ride the subway into the Westside.
So if you're not a big fan of the turnstiles, not to fret, just think of them as aluminum jungle gym equipment in our subway stations for the next decade or so.