We’ll All Be Riding the Bus Soon Vol. 177


A reader reports:

“The Waterfront metro has had two of its six gates out of service for well over a month, with no sign of repairs any time soon.

One gate broke months ago. The other followed about a month ago. Of the working 4 gates, one is a very very slow handicapped gate. So in rush hour, most commuters have to line up to use the one standard working gate.

Does WMATA have any plan to fix the broken gates? Or is this just the new normal for Waterfront?”

30 Comment

  • An update for the Eastern Market metro gates would be nice too since that is now my metro stop since Stadium/Armory is a complete joke.
    This is also a great explanation of why exit fares are complete bullshit. If there’s a fire, you must first pay in order to escape to safety.

    • That’s why they have emergency gates that you can just easily walk through…

      • Sure – but there’s typically only one on each side right?

        • My point is that if there’s a freakin’ fire in the station, do you really think the station manager is going to casually stop everyone to make sure they’ve paid?! Most able-bodied people will surely jump right over those little plastic barriers.

  • Farragut

    This is my main Metro station and they’ll sometimes make one of the working faregates on the right (not pictured) an entry gate, but yeah, it’s getting ridiculous now.

  • Welcome to Columbia Heights, the densest neighborhood in DC, and only 2 working exit faregates

    • Plus the added issue of there only being 5 normal gates plus one handicap gate for the entire station.

      • Agreed — even when all the gates are operating properly, the lines to get out at rush hour are still long. (And quite possibly to get in in the morning as well, but I’ve never been there then.)

    • The southern NoMa entrance is getting extremely busy as well. There are only three gates (1 in each direction and a bi-directional handicapped one). Considering that’s the general entrance for almost all of the residential projects in NoMa, they really need to add more gates.

  • west_egg

    Two of the six gates at Georgia Ave/Petworth have also been out of service for a while — one for weeks, the other for most of the past week.
    They’ve been working on replacements for all of the faregates but last I heard the pilot was not very successful. Even if it had been, we’d still be years away from new faregates throughout the system.

    • Wasn’t that because they wanted to change the card-reading technology, though? Or are you talking about something different — something that would change the faregates themselves?
      I see far too many faregates where the sides don’t open at the same time. Having been “bitten” a couple of times by faregates, I don’t want to get bitten again (or to slam into a faregate half that should have opened but didn’t).

      • Emmaleigh504

        I like the gates that are stuck open, everyone avoids them like they are broken, so you can go right through, no wait. And being the honest person my parents raised, I tap my card, and it get’s charged.

        • west_egg

          Besides, if you don’t tap on your way out they won’t let you back in without stopping at the manager’s booth 😉

        • That’s the no-so-bad kind of broken. I inevitably find the fare gates where only half the barrier opens up while I still have my “I’ve got places to be” stride on. Sometimes I see it quick enough to evade, many others result in some decent hip/thigh bruises.

      • west_egg

        I believe (but I could be wrong) that they wanted to change the card-reading technology AND the gates themselves, at the same time.
        And your assessment is correct — getting “bitten” by a faregate hurts like a motherf**ker. The last time one closed on my leg I broke the damn thing. (Not on purpose, but because my instinct was to summon my inner Hulk and pry them apart. My limbs > WMATA equipment.)

        • I was part of a WMATA focus group where we tried out a bunch of new kinds of faregates. They did say they would be changing the card reader technology too, but that was at least 3 years ago…

  • Many people just walk right through the gate while the Metro workers can’t be bothered. Yup, raise our fare to subsidize those people and the lazy disinterested Metro station managers that let them do it on a daily basis

    • Same at Eastern Market, just last week saw two kids jump the gate in full view of the manager and another saunter through the emergency exit gate and around the kiosk while the manager just watched him the whole time and said nothing. I can only conclude that Metro employees have been told not to challenge them.

      • I thnk thats exactly what metro said once. The manager in the booth is not enforcement so they don’t intervene with fair jumpers. I am not entirely sure what the station manager does. Do they have any control of gates or running an escalator up or down (you know since at Petworth the escalator is off every other day).

        • “I am not entirely sure what the station manager does.” Ha, I think many of us are thinking the same thing!

      • justinbc

        Unless they also jumped the gate to come in, won’t there still be some fee / fare assessed?

  • I am so glad to hear that I am not the only SW Waterfront resident that has noticed the broken Waterfront Station Fare Gates. Last month, I reported the months-long broken fare gate, on the website. A few days later, a surly lady, with attitude, called me to ridicule me for being so sensitive about the fare gate that they are having difficulty getting parts. Being that the second part of my complaint was that the Station Manager did not make an effort to reverse the gates, depending on the AM or PM Rush Hour, she passed along her conversation with the Station Manager to let me know that he knows how to do his job. I thanked her for the follow-up call; told her to have a nice day; reasoned the unsolved issues as typical DangerRail.

    Thanks for posting this. I am validated.

  • Turnstiles are the new escalators.

  • I like how only the broken ones are sponsored by IHOP.

  • phl2dc

    I was just mentally ranting about this this morning. I often see a woman enter through the emergency gate right in front of the station manager and no one says anything to her. Anyone know what the deal is with that?

    • MetroAccess riders are allowed to ride the rail system for free, but their MetroAccess cards do not work like SmarTrip cards. They have to flash them at the station manager and use the emergency gate.

      So this person could have been using the system correctly. Or they could have been a fare evader…but there’s really no way to know without asking them to show you their papers.

  • Ashy Oldlady

    Ten years ago, I remember all you’d hear nothing but pleas for establishing dedicated funding sources for Metro from Maryland, Virginia and the District. I guess they’ve long since given up on that, and it’s a big reason why we’re where we are today. That and profoundly incompetent leadership.

  • there is evidence, at the pentagon metro, that points to a new system – one of the old gates has been replaced by a distinctly more futuristic looking gate, which I believe is for testing purposes…maybe ten years away from full implementation?! haha, what a joke wmata is

  • Not to mention the elevator that takes you from the mezzanine to the platform hasn’t been working for nearly two weeks now. A few weeks ago, both the elevator and the up escalator weren’t working.


    The latest guy they tried to hire as GM dropped out of negotiations this afternoon. With the issues that Metro has, is it any wonder why?

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