When you walk into an Edmonton LRT station, there aren’t any physical barriers preventing you from walking or taking an elevator to the platform. There are no turnstiles to navigate, no gates that only open if you swipe a valid transit pass.
But Coun. Tim Cartmell wants Edmonton Transit to at least explore the idea of changing that. He will be introducing a motion at the Dec. 12 council meeting that the City explore placing fare gates in two LRT stations.
“It’s basically a pilot project,” he said. “Let’s see what happens when the fare gates go up. Let’s see what benefits there are.”
He would like to see at least one set of gates placed at an underground station.
But he doesn’t think he’s going to win the support of fellow councillors. He believes his council mates will not be keen on limiting access to transit platforms to those who have paid to be there.
“I’m not confident at all that this will pass,” he said.
Cartmell has been vocal that council has been “tone deaf” when it comes to how Edmonton Transit is used and perceived. Cartmell’s case is that while much of council, including Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, praise transit for being an equitable form of transportation, that it’s a positive climate action, that it’s a a linchpin of economic growth, it’s not the message that connects with Edmontonians. Yes, all those things are true — and noble — but they’re not the things that are going to compel someone to turn in the car keys. In Cartmell’s eyes, transit has to speak to people’s pragmatism — that it works well, can get you from point A to point B quickly and that it’s safe.