Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) chief accessibility officer Quemuel Arroyo announced that a new type of subway turnstiles will be installed at two subway stations in New York.
Originally announced back in 2021, the “wide-aisle” gates are meant to help those who commute in a wheelchair and can’t currently fit through the standard aisles. Of course, folks with strollers, bikes, luggage pieces and tons of grocery bags will also find the new additions to be useful.
The first round of installations will take place this spring at the Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue stop in Queens and the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center one in Brooklyn. The stations were selected because of the high volume of human traffic that passes through each day.
“We are finally installing those gates this year,” Arroyo announced during an official meeting. “This is the first time that the MTA is changing their fare array and how our customers access our systems.”
Unlike traditional turnstiles, which commuters have to roll through, these new versions will open from the middle out.
As exciting as they may look in the eyes of New Yorkers, though, the gates are old-news around the world as they have been in wide use across transit systems in London, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, among other cities, for years now. Better late than never, New York, right?
At the moment, people with disabilities can access subway platforms via AutoGates, which are basically emergency exits that can open and close through the use of OMNY or a MetroCard. The new setup will hopefully change all of that.
“Wide fare gates are great because they allow wheelchair users and people with strollers and bulky suitcases or packages to go into and out of the system just like everyone else and not have to use the finicky big door gates,” said Jean Ryan, president of Disabled in Action and a wheelchair user, in an email to AMNY. “Once the wide gates are installed everywhere, we won’t have to have a certain kind of MetroCard or OMNY card to get through the gate to or from the trains. It might also stop some of the fare evasion that is happening with the big door gates.”
In other transit-related news, New York State wants to ban “dangerous” people from NYC subways. It’s the dawn of a new era!
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.