To speed traffic through faregates, especially at rush hour, all faregates should be defaulted to the "open" position. Only when a customer does not have sufficient fare on his/her Smartrip Card will the gates shut quickly.
Because now all passengers are required to have a Smartrip Card instead of a paper farecard, most people can get out of the system even if their card has a negative balance. For customers entering, only a balance below a certain amount will prohibit the customer from coming through. Keeping the faregates open as the default position, allows customers going in or out to stream through as they tap their cards, not having to wait for the gate to close before they can tap their card. In the event a customer tries to enter the system with less than the required value, the gates will slam shut and prohibit entry. If a customer exits the system with less than the required value, the gates will remain open (because exiting with negative value is allowed.) I believe the number of "fare evaders" that may take advantage of the gates being defaulted to the open position will cost WMATA less than $100,000.