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May 18, 2023

A commuter enters a subway station in New York on March 22, 2023.

Cities like New York and DC are using tougher enforcement and high-tech barriers to crack down on subway turnstile jumpers. Critics say there are better ways.

John Surico and

Lillianna Byington

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The new electronic fare gates arrived at Boston's North Station in October 2022 — much to the consternation of many commuters who found the finicky barriers nearly impassable. Then, in March, Washington, DC, began installing upgraded turnstiles in its Metro system. Bay Area Rapid Transit signed off on a similar "hardening" initiative for San Francisco. Philadelphia, too.

The pattern is the latest in a series of efforts to win riders back, transit officials say, as agencies struggle to revive pre-pandemic ridership. How? By stopping riders from not paying.