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“Metro Charging for non-rides”

by Prince Of Petworth April 27, 2017 at 1:15 pm 12 Comments

metro fare
Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

“Dear PoPville,

Curious as to whether anyone has more clarity on Metro not charging fares when end up not taking the metro? I thought they were not charging for non-rides, but I noticed this morning when I gave up on the red line after waiting twenty minutes and realizing that it just wasn’t WMATA’s day, that I was charged the base fare on my card. Just wondering if you need to talk to the station manager to refund it each time (which seems very impractical), or if it is supposed to automatically happen?”

Ed. Note: Didn’t someone say that Metro reimburses at the end of the month? Am I imagining that?

  • BooWMATA
  • Bill
  • Anon Spock

    I recall the end if the month reimbursement, but did they also day it’s a 15 minute grace period?

    • DCbyDay

      Yeah — I think the reimbursement/15 minute grace period is correct. But from what I’ve seen on Twitter, they’ve been reimbursing people for today’s commute if you reach out.

    • JD

      Correct. It’s only a 15 minute grace period. Should be refunded within 72 hours.

  • Christopher

    Sounds like you waited too long. You’ve only got up to 15 minutes to decide you want out: https://www.wmata.com/fares/15-Minute-Grace-Period.cfm

  • ERyder

    I had a recent experience where I realized I was charged the minimum fare after leaving a station after about 8 minutes… Fired off an angry tweet to WMATA, but then noticed that the fare was reimbursed the next day, so I think it’s charged up front, but reimbursed after the fact.

  • Father of Fifi

    In this morning’s notices regarding the shenanigans at Metro Center, they referenced the 15-minute grace period.

  • OP

    I was the OP from a few months ago who flagged this to Popville’s attention. I received a note back from Metro that they settle up at the end of the month if there is a grace period departure from a station. It can be further complicated/delayed if you participate in a pre-tax Metrocard program through your employer (which I do).

    While I ‘get it’ I find it frustrating. It’s essentially giving Metro an interest-free loan for the period between when you pay and when they reimburse you. Plus, it’s not impossible to imagine someone who may be on a restricted income being made worse off by not having that fare instantly refunded to their account, and running in to the red on the account by the end of the month before they’re refunded.

    • Reality

      Honestly, just be glad you’re getting it at all. You don’t get a similar refund on buses if you want off because the traffic is too slow. I think it’s a nice change in response to customer requests. It’s not perfect and we’d all like instant gratification, but I’m sure there are reasons their systems take 24-72 hours.

      • wpk_dc


  • Frustrated Metro Rider

    It might be different for customers on SmartBenefits?


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