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Operator to remove subway turnstiles for young children

State-run subway operator Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit said Sunday that it will remove subway turnstiles specially designed for children, in order to curb the increasing number of adult fare dodgers.

SMRT has been operating the “child only” subway turnstiles since 2009, at about 10 subway stations around Seoul on subway lines 5 to 8.

Hanging lower than regular turnstiles and decorated with colorful paintings, these facilities were built to make it more convenient for subway passengers accompanied by children under 6.
Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit
Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit
But these charge-free gates have often been abused by adult passengers seeking a free ride.

“We have witnessed a fair amount of adult passengers going through these turnstiles, but it is difficult to detect such fare evaders on a real time basis,” said the SMRT official.

The problem of subway fare evasion has long been a strain on subway operators’ budgets.

Despite fines of 30 times the original fare, more than 21,431 passengers illegally hopped on trains last year, paying 794 million won ($657,000) in fines, according to Seoul Metro, which operates subway lines Nos. 1 to 4.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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