Fresno Eliminates All-Door Boarding on “BRT” Route

A small announcement appeared on the FAX website last week: fareboxes are being added to buses on Route 1 (Q) and all-door boarding is being eliminated.

Fareboxes will soon be installed on Route 1 – BRT buses.  Once installed, passengers must board through the front door and use the farebox to: Pay in cash, Validate ride cards, or Activate passes 


On Twitter, I confirmed with the agency that all-door boarding will end, even for those who choose to pay at the machines.

Pre-payment and all-door boarding was one of the only “BRT” features that hadn’t yet been eliminated. As a reminder:

  • Exclusive bus lanes, ELIMINATED
  • Articulated (60-foot) buses, ELIMINATED
  • “Level boarding,” ELIMINATED
  • 10-minute headways, SCALED BACK 
  • Off-board payment, ELIMINATED

And with that, BRT in Fresno is now fully dead.

Off-board payment and all-door boarding is important because it speeds up buses. San Francisco moved to all-door boarding in 2014, and it was a massive success. Los Angeles has all-door boarding on some lines. New York City and Boston plan on implementing all-door boarding throughout their entire networks within 2 years.

When people have to pay at the front, everybody in the bus has to sit and wait while a single person struggles to get the machine to eat their dollar. It also moves the bus operator from being a driver, to someone who also has to enforce payment. This in turn creates situations where the driver decides to handle fare evasion by threatening to not drive.

Fresno plans on adopting a tap-card payment method this year, but instead of expanding all-door boarding to all lines, they’re eliminating it.

And so as the nation moves forward, Fresno once again steps backwards.

8 Replies to “Fresno Eliminates All-Door Boarding on “BRT” Route”

  1. Well, only thing I can think of now is getting a new administration (likely Andrew Janz) that could commit to including all of these features within the next few years in BRT.

    On one of the few times I’ve ridden BRT, some homeless people would get on the bus using the rear doors without paying. This along with unreliable terminals has without a doubt contributed to FAX’s decision.

    Are off board payment rules enforce on MUNI and METRO buses?

    1. UPDATE: Just read the Citylab link. So Muni,”added a rear-door smartcard reader and hired 13 new fare inspectors to spot-check rider proof-of-purchase.”

      Again, we need a city mayor willing to spend the money on those incremental improvements and full BRT in Fresno.

    2. How can you tell by looking at somebody whether he has paid? I typically ride the BRT using a transfer and enter through the rear doors as well.

      1. They are supposed to do random fare checks to ensure everybody has paid. People who don’t pay get a ticket. The ticket is supposed to be high enough to discourage cheating, but not too high as to ruin someones month.

      1. I look forward to the answer. I heard him on Valley Edition this morning. When discussing downtown, he mentioned that “urban sprawl is running rampant” while talking about downtown.

  2. How San Bernardino Omnitrans SBX does it is by having swipe readers on the back of the bus. If the driver cares enough they will yell over the intercom at people who haven’t swiped, as they make a loud beep once it happens. That way they can still do all door boarding without fare inspectors. Everyone has to swipe regardless of whether they paid off board or not.

    1. Thats interesting, they could also connect a simple counter or something to the front so the driver can see how many taps were recorded.

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