I thought it’d be interesting to call to your attention a problem I’ve encountered with WMATA that I am sure others have run in to (and they may or may not be aware of). WMATA instituted a “15 Minute Grace Period” Program that is intended to automatically refund rail users who enter and exit the same station within 15 minutes and do not take a ride. In theory, the program should assist riders during SafeTrack who enter, see a 15-20 minute headway, and decide to take another mode of transportation to their destination (Uber/Lyft, Bikeshare, Circulator, MetroBus, etc.). More info can be found here.
It’s a slow day at work since we are near the holidays, and I decided to review my ride history this morning. In the month of December alone I had two fees that should have been reimbursed under the program, but were not. While the dollar value is nominal for me, it could represent a burdensome loss of a paid round-trip fare to a less advantaged user of the transit system.
It doesn’t strike me as fair that a program that says it auto-refunds simply doesn’t do it. If in one month one rider (me) lost $3.50 to the program, then over the course of a year that could be tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars that WMATA is falsely keeping.”
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