Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pay to Play


Many, many people have written in asking why we have to pay just to enter a station. They argue that it's a ripoff to swipe the farecard and then have to pay the minimum fare if, say, there's a major delay and they decide it's quicker to get to their destination by exiting the system immediately to walk or get a cab instead of dealing with MetroMess.

Here's WMATA's answer:
Metro uses a two point fare system, you swipe your card when you enter and again when you leave. It is expected that when you enter the system you do so with the intent of going someplace other than where you started, and we collect the fare accordingly. We also have in place a policy that states if a major delay or incident happens, the General Manager has the authority to invoke our “Zero Fare Policy” which allows customers to leave the system from the same station they enter at with no fare charged. (Board notification is required every time this is enacted as it violates our tariff)

Now, image you and a friend (Internet, Craig’s list) both ride every day. You get on at Vienna and travel to Metro Center and your friend conveniently gets on at Metro Center and travels to Vienna. You determine that if you meet at, let’s say Rosslyn, he gives you his fare card and you give him your fare card, you would both have fare cards showing you leaving from the same station you entered and…

You can find our tariff here: http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/docs/WMATA_Tariff_Effective_06272010.PDF

Here's what San Fran's BART does if you decide you don't want to ride:
You would pay a fare of $5.20 because the gates presume you've been riding around for any period of time less than three hours.

To avoid such a charge, see the station agent instead of going through the fare gate. If the ticket is still open and has not been used for exit, the agent can reset that ticket.
Photo: sabine01

Other items:
Women stuck in station (Examiner)

23 comments:

Chris said...

Well if they had air conditioning this wouldn't be a problem.

(JUST KIDDING! Jeez people... lighten up... it's hump day!)

Anonymous said...

Wonder how many people stick with Metro on delay days (every day now) just because they've paid the min. fare. Seems like Metro would want to make it easier to get some people at least out of there.

Anonymous said...

Metro's scam example is ludicrous. With all the delays and crowds, it would be worth $10 just to NOT try to meet someone somewhere in the middle to exchange illicit tickets.

Anonymous said...

Why can't Metro gate attendants be given the power to make an adjustment like this? Oh wait a minute. I remember.

Anonymous said...

This wouldn't be a problem if the minimum fare was reasonable.

Or...wait...metro has computers that can tell what time you entered the system. How about this: if you exit the same station with 10 minutes of when you boarded you pay nothing.

Ten minutes is about long enough during most major delays to determine whether or not you're going to stick with the train or not. And, even during "regular" train functioning, it's not long enough to do anything inside the system (as if there were anything to do but ride around) and get anywhere.

Anonymous said...

This assumes that there's someone working at the station and that they're willing to help you. Considering Metro's history that's a pretty big "if".

Anonymous said...

Since the fare increases were enacted, I have noticed that there have been delays every single day.

One hopes that - eventually (perhaps in a few years) - the increases could help reduce these malfunctions. But since the justification for the fare increases was a giant budget shortfall, I have no faith Metro is in a position to improve anything... rather, their priority, astoundingly, seems to be to stop things from getting worse. Which they haven't done a great job of thus far.

Oh, Metro. You are like a younger sibling addicted to crack. I want to love you but you make it so *#!%&*%( hard.

Anonymous said...

F the dc metro. tried of delays and being crammed into a 300' car...

Anonymous said...

easy solution, just put a 10 minute time limit on the no fare exit. everyone knows it takes a minimum of 45 minutes to get anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Unsuck,

I thought you'd report on Metro locking the two passengers inside the Cheverly station yesterday for almost 30 minutes.

I bet you they still weren't refunded their fares either.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the tariff, does Metro really charge $8.25 for parking if you're not riding on the Metro and $25.00 on the day of Redskins games? How would they even know where I'm going or not going?

My point is, if this is said to be the Metro's bible, you can't pick and choose which rules you want to abide by, including contacting the Board simply to get a fare forgiven!

Dreamer said...

http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpps/news/big-red-slide-makes-subway-commute-easier-dpgoh-20100629-fc_8389084

we Should have these slides on the metro when the escalators are broken! then we dont have to depend on the maintains...just the fun!

Unsuck DC Metro said...

10:04 didn't think there was much to add. just more metro nonsense. it's hard to be shocked any more;)

Anonymous said...

To be fair, every time there's been some sort of delay and I've decided to leave the station, I've simply asked the station manager and they let me go out the side gate. Next time I'm getting on (at the same station), I let them know what happened and they let me go through the side gate as well. When I get to my final destination and swipe, the system either lets me through or tells me to see the station manager (where they either let me go through free or ask me where I came from).

I've done this around 4 times this year and never had any issues. Though maybe I've just had good luck with station managers.

Tonei said...

Anonymous re tariffs:

If I remember right, the parking charges are linked to Smartrip payment – it charges you a different rate to "transfer" from rail to parking than it does to simply park.

Anonymous said...

The metro excuse was pretty bad. As was explained above, you could easily have a 15-minute time limit.

Even more so, if metro thinks people would do the scheme outlined above to save money, people would already be doing it.

That's because metro charges by distance and the minimum fare is what is charged for exiting the same station.

You and a friend traveling from far distances could save money by doing it now.

Anonymous said...

In the modern computer driven world a 15 minute opt out is a real option, but scams are easier than a meet in the middle and trade of cards. I know a guy who used to go to a particular deli most days for lunch. He would swipe his card in at the station by our office and then Metro to the station by the deli and hop over the unattended gate at an elevator. He would get his lunch and hop back over the gate and go back to work. He would then exit back out at the original station with a one way minimum fare. Two expensive rides for the cost of one cheap one. He also had the gall to be pissed when he got busted twice by the Transit Cops in one month.

ZZinDC said...

Typical Metro response - they explain a policy that would allow them to avoid charging, so they can sound as if they are reasonable, but the policy is so onerous that it is essentially impossible to implement (Board Notification? How about the Line Manager?)

The fast lane slide is great (watch the video)- but too much fun for Metro, perhaps the only organization less inclined toward fun than the Germans!

Anonymous said...

If the slide was in a Metro station, it would be under construction for 13 months,and then be out of order for 2-3 weeks every month. You could walk up it, but not slide down it.

Unsuck DC Metro said...

anon 4:21 & 4:23 Nice.

Anonymous said...

Here is a scam for Metro to consider. Buy two smarttrip cards. Scan one in Rockville during peak of peak of peak hours. Ride to National Airport Metro and attempt to use the other card you have not scanned, the manager will not know what to do and will let you out of the side gate. Use the same card to reenter National Airport Metro after work, but use the card you used in Rockville that morning when you arrive in Rockville. The manager will try to figure out where you went and since you are honest an honest person by nature, you say, "Twinbook".

Anonymous said...

@Anon7:17....if you entered and exited the same two stations everyday, theoretically you could do this everyday. There would always be one "open" transaction.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it sucks that the Metro uses the two fare system. I think that Anonymous 10:01 has the right idea with the 10 minute fare limit. But sometimes there is no way out of paying the fare. Instead of sneakily trying to beat the system, I looked into pre tax commuter benefits at http://www.commuternation.com/dc I can save up to 40% on my commuting costs. It’s worth a look!

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