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I pay four bucks each way for the privilege of waiting on a stationary rail car?

March 11, 2008, 2:33 PM

I have had it – I hate Metro’s tiered fare system, where you’re charged by time of day (higher fares during rush hour) and distance. I like some other systems’ fare structures better, where it’s a flat fee regardless of when or how far you ride. Kind of like the buses, where you pay the same whether it’s from my house to Glenmont, my house to Silver Spring, or my house all the way to work down on P Street.

It’s annoying today because I had to sit through two delays, and nearly got offloaded. Let’s just say that the Red Line did not have a good morning, as I woke up to messages on my cell phone about a “minor” delay on the Red Line. Then after I got on Breda 4005 this morning, we were stopped directly behind a train that was experiencing mechanical problems at Takoma. Thus we’re sitting, with the electric “chopper” (which produces the Bredas’ signature buzzing sound) completely silent. No good. Then they announce that they’re offloading the train, and we should be moving “shortly”, and “Metro apologizes for this inconvenience.” Sure. Then they mention to us that we might have to be offloaded as well if they can’t get the problem train moving on its own, because they would need to use our train to push the problem train to the yard (probably Brentwood, considering the location and the direction of travel). Finally, we got to the station. I’m waiting to hear the phrase “Red Line to Shady Grove” to know that we weren’t getting offloaded ourselves. The doors opened. “Red Line to Shady Grove!” Thank you, Mr. Train Operator. I don’t have to lose my seat.

Then Metro had another delay later, related to a train further up the line experiencing more mechanical problems. This time at Cleveland Park. We again did some sitting for that. No fun. Especially since we were so close to Dupont Circle, where I get off for work. By then, I just wanted out, since we were so close.

Yeah, and for the privilege of sitting through this, I’m paying four bucks each way for my Glenmont-to-Dupont-Circle commute. This is up from the $3.35 each way that I was paying prior to the January 2008 fare increase. I so wish that Metro would change their fare system. It might make these delays a bit more tolerable if I wasn’t paying so blasted much. Of course, Metro also needs a dedicated funding source like most other public transportation systems, and I don’t see that coming anytime soon, so it looks like I’ll be grumbling a while longer.

By the way, if Metro ever gets to the point where the passes work on SmarTrip, I’m switching. The savings with the weekly pass vs. just paying the straight fare are very little (maybe two bucks a week), but it would be much more convenient, plus make going places after work more convenient, since one extra trip outside of my regular commute, whether it’s a side trip after work or an entirely separate trip, would make the pass far more cost-effective. Of course, considering Metro is so concerned about getting their riders to use SmarTrip, you’d think they’d deploy more SmarTrip-capable farecard machines. In most stations, it is still the case that the majority of the farecard machines do not accept SmarTrip, whether regular farecard machines with the SmarTrip target, or (better) the blue Passes/Farecards machines. Most are just the plain old farecard-only machine that only takes cash.

Web site: All about SmarTrip from WMATA

Song: Gnooze: Viagra in Your Drink?!?

Quote: And meanwhile, this morning, the Ride-On bus's farebox was broken, thus a free ride for me. Thus I didn't get the paper transfer, but I ended up saving more than I would have with the paper transfer. I saved $1.25 vs. the 60¢ I would have saved with the *coughcough*daypass*coughcough*, ahem, I mean, um, two-hour regional bus transfer.

Categories: WMATA