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A turnstile, also called a baffle gate, is a form of gate which allows one person to pass at a time. It can also be made so as to enforce one-way traffic of people, and in addition, it can restrict passage only to people who insert a coin, a ticket, a pass, or similar. Thus a turnstile can be used in the case of paid access (sometimes called a faregate when used for this purpose), for example public transport as a ticket barrier or a pay toilet, or to restrict access to authorized people, for example in the lobby of an office building.
Turnstiles are used at a wide variety of settings, including stadiums, amusement parks, museums, mass transit stations, office lobbies, retail sites, cafeterias, temporary exhibits, ski resorts, casinos and souvenir stands.
From a business/revenue standpoint, turnstiles give an accurate, verifiable count of attendance. From a security standpoint, they lead patrons to enter single-file, so security personnel have a clear view of each patron. This enables security to efficiently isolate potential trouble or to confiscate any prohibited materials.
History and applications
Turnstiles were originally used, like other forms of stile, to allow human beings to pass while keeping sheep or other livestock penned in. The use of turnstiles in most modern applications has been credited to Clarence Saunders, who used them in his first Piggly Wiggly store.
Turnstiles often use ratchet mechanisms to allow the rotation of the stile in one direction allowing ingress but preventing rotation in the other direction. They are often designed to operate only after a payment has been made, usually by inserting a coin or token in a slot; or by swiping, or inserting, a paper ticket or electronically encoded card.
Turnstiles are often used for counting the numbers of people passing through a gate, even where payment is not involved. They are used extensively in this manner in amusement parks, in order to keep track of how many people enter and exit the park and ride each ride. The first major use of turnstiles at a sporting venue was at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland.
Types of turnstiles
Sometimes also referred to as "half-height" turnstiles, this fixed arm style has traditionally been the most popular type of turnstile. There are many variations of this style available, including one which is designed to be accompanied by a matching ticket box, and one with a ticket box built in. Some styles are designed to allow entry only after a payment (actual coins and tokens) are inserted, while others allow access after a valid barcode is electronically read. A disadvantage to this type is people can "jump the turnstile".
Optical turnstiles are an alternative to the traditional "arm"-style turnstile and are increasingly used in locations where a physical barrier is deemed unnecessary or unaesthetic. Optical turnstiles generally use an infrared beam to count patrons and recognize anyone attempting to enter a site without a valid entry pass.
The full-height turnstile, is a larger version of the turnstile, commonly 7-foot (2.1 m) high, similar in operation to a revolving door, which eliminates the possibility (inherent in the waist-high style) of anyone jumping over the turnstile. It is also known as an "iron maiden", after the torture device of the same name, or "high-wheel". It is sometimes called a "Rotogate", especially in Chicago, where it is used at unstaffed exits of Chicago 'L' stations, and is also used at many New York City Subway stations. In Europe, however, "Rotogate" refers to a different kind of gate that is not a turnstile.
There are two types of full height turnstiles, High Entrance/Exit Turnstile or HEET and Exit-Only. The difference between them is that HEET turnstiles can rotate in both directions, thus allowing two-way traffic, while exit-only turnstiles can only rotate in one direction, thus allowing one-way traffic. Exit-only turnstiles are commonly used in mass transit stations to allow passengers to exit the system without interfering with those entering.
Turnstiles in Russia
In the public transportation systems of the Soviet Union, the only common use of turnstiles was at the entrance to subway stations (first introduced in Moscow Metro on November 7, 1958). City buses and commuter trains usually operated on the honor system. But as fare collection became a more pressing business in post-Soviet Russia, railway terminals and high-traffic railway station in the Moscow area, Nizhny Novgorod and elsewhere had turnstiles installed.
In the early 2000s, Moscow authorities went one step further in their quest to improve fare collection: since enclosing all bus and tram stops and providing them with fare gates would not be feasible, the authorities resorted to installing turnstiles inside each city bus and tram. This practice has caused numerous passenger complaints as it reduced the speed of boarding, compared to the traditional honor system. A similar system is in use in Brazilian and Chilean city buses.
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- "How a Subway Turnstile Works" Popular Science, April 1952, pp. 116-117.
- Barry, Popik (July 17, 2005). "The Big Apple: Iron Maiden or HEET (High Entrance/Exit Turnstile)". The Big Apple. barrypopik.com/. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- Timeline (ХРОНОЛОГИЯ) (Moscow Metro official site, accessed 2006-Nov-03)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Turnstiles|
- Page showing various designs of turnstiles in the history of the New York subway system.