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MTA debuts new turnstiles at Jamaica subway station designed to increase accessibility, hinder fare evasion

Dec. 6, 2023 By Bill Parry

The MTA announced on Dec. 4 the installation of the first-ever wide-aisle fare gates and a new customer service center at the Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue-JFK Airport subway station in Jamaica.

The MTA unveils a new turnstile system at the Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue-JFK Airport subway station to improve accessibility while cutting down on fare evasion. Photo courtesy of the MTA

The first full replacement of traditional turnstiles in the subway system will improve accessibility for riders with wheelchairs, strollers and luggage while combating fare evasion at the station.

“I’m thrilled to see the MTA’s continued strides in creating better systems for New Yorkers, especially for the residents of Queens,” Council Member Nantasha Williams said. “The upcoming opening of the new Customer Service Center at Sutphin Boulevard – Archer Avenue – JFK AirTrain station and the innovative wide-aisle gates initiative will bring a significant improvement to the daily commute and overall transportation experience for Queens residents. These positive changes reflect a commitment to enhancing convenience and accessibility, making journeys smoother and more efficient. It’s exciting to witness these improvements that will undoubtedly benefit our city’s residents.”

State Sen. Leroy Comrie said the new wide-aisle gate installation at the station is a major step forward in accessibility.

“As a strong and vocal supporter of the MTA’s responsibility to make ADA improvements I am pleased to see the Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue–JFK Airport station prioritize these concepts in their latest installments,” Comrie said. “This station connects to one of the busiest airports in the world and with thousands of travelers, residents and commuters passing through these gates every day, efficiency and ease of use must be delivered at the highest standard. I applaud the MTA on the completion of this project and look forward to its positive impact.”

In addition to the new gates, the MTA also installed four traditional turnstiles at the north end of the mezzanine to enhance customer flow.

“Modernizing our century-old subway system isn’t just a necessary investment structurally, it’s a critical move toward ensuring Queens commuters of any ability can easily and safely travel to any destination in the city. That’s exactly what today’s announcement entails,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “Thank you to the MTA for its efforts to support Southeast Queens riders and strengthen one of our community’s most important transit hubs.”

Council Member James Gennaro applauded the agency for making the transit system more accessible.

“This transformative initiative not only improves the functionality of our transit system but also underscores the MTA’s pledge to make public transportation more inclusive, convenient and customer-centric,” Gennaro said.

The MTA also announced the opening of a new customer service center, making the station the 14th center in the subway system. The new center features new lighting and enhanced customer service functions such as station agents on hand to assist in converting riders to OMNY, signing up for reduced fare and helping troubleshoot general concerns.

Photo courtesy of the MTA

“New York City Transit’s North Star is improving the customer experience and we are doing just that at Sutphin Boulevard by introducing new, easier to access, fare gates and by opening our 14th Customer Service Center,” NYC Transit President Richard Davey said. “Customers traveling to and from JFK with their luggage, commuters transferring from the LIRR at Jamaica and local commuters can look forward to faster, more accessible journeys and a more welcoming station environment.”

Photo courtesy of the MTA

The new fare gates replace the emergency exit gate at the end of the station, which was a major contributor to subway fare evasion.

Photo courtesy of the MTA

“This new generation of fare gates is critical not only to advancing accessibility but also preventing fare evasion, which threatens the financial well-being of our entire transit system,” said MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “More than half of all subway fare evasion occurs through emergency exit gates, and this redesign of our fare array infrastructure will eliminate this opportunity.”

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