(KRON) – A Bay Area group of business leaders is demanding BART speed up its timeline to install security gates at its 50 stations. The Bay Area Council Group says data from their recent poll shows riders are staying away due to safety concerns and that gates are one way to drastically improve security throughout the system.  

BART plans to have the gates installed by 2026. Officials say they are working hard on making the changes but moving faster may not be the answer. 

The council calls that timeline unacceptable. 

“We believe there is an urgency and BART needs to do whatever it can to accelerate the project and help keep unwanted elements out,” said Bay Area Council Group spokesperson Rufus Jeffries. 

Jeffries says the group of local businesses conducted a survey in May showing the primary reason riders have not returned en masse to BART is due to safety concerns. They say their data shows fare gates can solve that dilemma and add revenue to the system to beef up security.  

“We are putting in gates, but we will not cut corners to do so to appease someone else’s timeline,” BART spokesperson Jim Allison said. “These gates will go in and they need to last a long time, so speeding up is not good.”

Allison says gates will go into the West Oakland station by the end of the year, and they have increased police, as well as ambassadors, to help improve safety.  He says they also cut access to elevators after learning fare evaders were using that to gain access to trains.

“We are going to do this right and it is our top priority,” Allison said.

Allison says teams are already in place working on prototypes, and it is possible stations may have gates sooner than the projected 2026 completion date.