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Hey Metro Scofflaws – Try Getting Around This Cardboard Box!!!!

by Prince Of Petworth May 4, 2017 at 10:00 am 63 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user nevermindtheend

“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.”
― John Locke

“We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws.”
― Hunter S. Thompson

Photo by PoPville flickr user nevermindtheend

  • stacksp

    Reaction I assume from the incident from a few weeks ago where Metro personnel allowed a young man with his infant child to go through the gate (which is not uncommon) only for him to then be arrested by Transit police for going through said gate.

    • Leeran

      I wouldn’t assume that… fare evasion is pretty bad on Metro (not that this will do much, but…)

  • Hill Denizen

    Kids will just jump the gate like they already do.

    • Anon

      Sure, but this helps nevertheless. I wouldn’t be at all opposed to a subsidized metro fare program for low income residents.

      • ParkViewneighbor

        Paid with what? Fares on Metro are already pretty high and kids already get free Metro (with the issues this creates)

        • Anon

          Paid with money? Obviously that would have to be raised in some fashion.

          • ParkViewneighbor

            funny joke…
            on the matter, there is also a subsidy by riders and taxpayers to allow DC kids to travel free on Metro. Extending the program to low-income people would cost money that would need to come from something. Everybody is fine with that until the money comes out of your smartrip or your paycheck.
            How would DC subsidize that proposal? WMATA’s finances are not robust as it is

          • Anon

            Now now – I never claimed to have all the answers, just mentioned that I wouldn’t be opposed to it. DC does have a sizeable budget surplus. Would money be better spent on further subsidizing WMATA vs building/supporting more housing? I don’t think so, as I’d guess that it’s currently harder to get more Fed money for housing than for WMATA, but there are people far better versed in this than I am.

  • DeanWillow

    I don’t know what the policy is or isn’t for using the gate. However, at the Georgia Ave metro, there is a steady stream of people using the gate and not using fare cards.

    • Leeran

      This is usually skipping out on paying fares. That gate is supposed to be for emergency, or when a manager waves your through due to a one-off factor.

    • JB

      Agreed; this happens ALL THE TIME the Georgia Ave station. Kids (and adults) walk through the emergency gate with total nonchalance. I’m sure they’re laughing at the rest of us who use our fare cards like suckers. It’s utterly enraging.

      • MadMax

        For a good portion of the city their fare is paid for by the government. I imagine if that were to ever go away you would hear more uproar.

        • JB

          OK, and your point is…? That we shouldn’t enforce the existing law requiring people to use the fare gates?

          • MadMax

            My point is that your comment “I’m sure they’re laughing at the rest of us who use our fare cards like suckers.” doesn’t apply to a sizable portion of this city. For those whose transit fares are subsidized they don’t have any incentive to care whether others are going through for free or not, because they aren’t paying either. Should they care? Probably, but people have enough complaints with the system itself that I can’t see them exerting too much effort.

        • prince-of-parkview

          are we sure these kids are students? if so they are rolling into school at like 10 AM – is that a late start time? seems simple to enforce use of smart trip and then day-part it to only reasonable commute hours for school (that’s why metro is subsidized for these individuals, for transport to school correct? please tell me if I am wrong).

          • JB

            @MadMax (11:18): Got it, and agree with you. I totally misread your prior comment; my apologies.

        • govie

          Yes, but being “paid for by the government” is part of our benefits. It’s similar to insurance and 401K. So yes, it IS my money!

      • ParkViewneighbor

        yup, entitlement much?

      • w

        It’s amazing how many people (non students) don’t pay at the the Georgia Ave station. The station manager does little to nothing to stop it, and gate jumpers only seem deterred or slowed down when police are monitoring the gates.

        • jonah

          I thought in previous posts we found that there was a policy against station staff chasing or interjecting in altercations. And that they are suppose to contact Metro Police for enforcement. If that is the case I don’t know what the expectations for a station manager should be. The idea of them physically stopping and holding someone without the authority to detain someone, like a police agency has, probably would make matters worse.

          • JoDa

            They’re not supposed to intervene. They’re unarmed, and some of the situations involve large groups of people. It could get messy. However, standing in front of the gate to deter people from going through it isn’t intervening. Many station managers use that tactic with great results (there’s one who does it at RIA, and I see lots of kids/teens hit the bottom of the escalator, see him, and turn around and go right back up…sure, it just moves the problem to Brookland, but if we made it inconvenient enough…).

    • anon36

      Agree. There is a line of non-student age people going through the gate at Georgia Ave all day. Some of them even do hand shakes with the station manager.

  • Anonynon

    I frequently see this happening all across metro. They should close all of these gates…..make people pay up then maybe metro wouldn’t be such a sh*t show with funding. There are no free rides folks. Also, far evasion on busses seems to be pretty common as well and harder to enforce

    • Jared MacBride

      Many handicapped people cannot get through the regular turnstiles. Since police presence on Metro is nil fare evasion won’t be stopping any time soon.

      • nope

        This comment makes no sense. There are extra wide fare gates for those who need them. Are you saying that going through a swinging gate is somehow easier for those with disabilities than going through the wide fare gate?

        • CapHillRes

          I’ve only used the gate when my card malfunctions and the station manager tells me to go through the gate instead…which happens quite frequently. That and I can imagine situations where a disabled person can’t fit through the “extra large” gate, strollers, etc. etc. etc.

        • there are times when, while using a double stroller, if the wide gate is broken (often enough), i ask the manager to swipe my card and then i go through the door.

  • Sandy

    Please…who does this stop or going to stop? I watch several station managers who sit in the booth, chatting on the phone, and watch as NUMEROUS kids just stroll through the gate and laugh. It is horrible at Van Dorn…not only with the kids doing it but adults SMH…and they raise fares WHY??

    • Anonynon

      yeah the worst part is this gives a sense of entitlement to these kids that they are above the law and deserve to ride for free. That’s not true. Get a job and pay for your transportation

      • MadMax

        I thought kids in DC schools did ride for free? Is that no longer a thing?

        • Nathan

          I believe they do. They’re still supposed to tap at the fare stations though, right?

        • Sandy

          They ride IN DC for free, but they get over by going to Virginia and saying I have a DC ONE CARD and the mangers STILL let them go out the gate FREE!!

    • dcd

      Yeah – evading fares through use of the swing gate never struck me as an infrastructure problem, but rather the failure of the station manager to enforce the rules.

  • MadMax

    key word: “may”

  • some guy

    Kudos on quoting two of my heroes, both great lovers of humanity and human freedom!

  • NE denezin

    The gates are also used by students who don’t have to pay in the District during certain hours coming and going to school. I am a fan of going to an NYC or Phi styles system, but lets be clear not everyone going through gates now is doing so to avoid paying.

    • Nathan

      From the School Transit Subsidy webpage: You must tap your DC One Card or SmarTrip card on the fare gate or farebox.

      Looks like they just updated the page too to note that Metro will begin locking the swing gates.

      • Sandy

        They will continue to jump over, follow someone who actually PAYS (imagine that) or tell a sob story or hand a phone number to the station attendant and be let thru.

    • nope

      Nope. All the DC students who ride free are still required to tap at the fare gates.

      Even the old system where MetroAccess riders went through the swing gate has been changed so that all MetroAccess riders have a card to tap at the fare gates as well.

    • Petworth

      I wish they would change that and make their school badge that they show to bus drivers/attendants was effectively a Smart Trip card that they could swipe that would let them go through for free at certain times. That would solve the issue of them just going through the door outside of the allowed hours (which is what I see 95% of the time), and would get the in the habit of using the turn styles, but would also create a black market for those cards.

      • Nathan

        Unless I’m misunderstanding it, their DC One Card is ID, SmarTrip, even library card…

    • DeanWillow

      I have no problem with reduced or no fares in certain circumstances. But I am assuming you must still have a fare card. Walking through the gate while the station manager watches and does nothing definitely gets on my nerves.

    • anoNE

      My friend is a teacher at a middle school in D.C. She also commutes on Metro. Whenever this topic comes up, she has ample stories of kids who have said their parents/older siblings/uncles/neighbors take their subsidized metro cards. She said she wouldn’t be surprised if kids often don’t have the card in their possession — no infrequently by no fault of their own — and that until they can’t just walk through, there no incentive for anyone to address aby larger at-home issues at play.

      • Sadly I can corroborate this tactic of adults taking the kid’s cards. See it often at work and even in my own family.

        • anoNE

          Sorry to hear it, Joe. My friend usually tries her best to explain this side of the debate, but often people just don’t believe her. I think mostly they don’t want to hear why it may not be pure delinquence on the gate-hopping kid’s end. It is NOT a blanket excuse for all crappy behavior by teens on the Metro, but there are a lot of people who would like to see this system run differently.

          And… Sorry for all the typos above in my first post. Don’t comment on PoP via your cellphone while also on a (boring) conference call, all.

        • JoDa

          Curious how this works now that they’re part of the student ID. Doesn’t the student need the ID to go to school? I thought that was one goal of the One ID program…along with reducing the loss of Smarttrip cards and cost to obtain them.

  • Anonthony

    I have to wonder about the legality of “securing” this gate. In the event of an emergency, having to wait for a station manager, who may or may not be asleep or nowhere to be found, to unlock and/or open this gate could mean the difference between life and death.

    • MadMax

      I mean if the station is on fire or something people will find a way around that one single gate that’s barred off. When you’re literally running for your life there ain’t no gate going to stop you, unless you’re wheelchair bound, and then you really have to rely on the decency of other people to help you anyway.

    • Sandy

      ITA…ANOTHER lawsuit waiting to happen, like metro needs that, smh.

    • welshie

      I don’t think the gates are actually locked. And I think that’s why they are blocked with cardboard boxes. In case of emergencies they can be easily moved aside, hence the PoP’s title. …Right?

      • anon

        No, they’re not locked, just have the boxes in front. I saw someone walk through this morning at Gallery Place.

  • textdoc

    About time.
    I’ve never understood why the “emergency” gates weren’t equipped with alarms, like emergency fire-exit doors.

  • one of my happiest moments is when i saw two young men jump the gate at u street. i texted metro police a description and said i heard them talking about chinatown. when we arrived at chinatown, the transit police were right there and arrested them. apparently, they’d already confirmed with the manager at u street that they jumped the gate.

    • Anon

      While I’m glad that folks are enforcing the laws, the way you seem to gloat about this is rather sickening.

      • JB

        Nah. Gotta celebrate the small victories for order over chaos.

        • Anon


      • Neighborly

        Enforcing the law is sickening? If you don’t like the law, change it. Otherwise, it is meant to be enforced to the maximum extent possible.

        +1 @ustreetv

  • anon

    The Eastern Market gate is repeatedly breached by kids while station managers either look away or even smile and nod

  • BigD

    I’m going to put a big red cardboard box in front of my house to keep packages from being stolen. “THIS PORCH IS NOW SECURED.”

    • MISC

      VERIFIED: This gate is now secure. -Paul Ryan

  • saf

    Now if only they would do this at the Petworth stop, where I think more people go through that gate than the fare gates.

  • Rob

    One of the first days I commuted to work on metro a group of 4 kids jumped the gates right next to me and were wrestling on the platform and spitting on the ground. They had McDonald’s with them and proceeded to eat and then harass people in the train car. They then left all of their stinking trash in the seats and one kid “bombed” the car with a soda as they left. These were 17-20 years olds that seemed willing to fight with each other, so everyone was afraid to say anything. People just stared Into their phones hoping they wouldn’t be bothered.

    On the other side of the coin it’s really nice to have a system that would allow people the “mental freedom” to jump the gates if they really are in dire need. But incidents like above do happen, and I would be for NYC style gates if metro needs the funding to stay open and improve.

  • errr

    people who arent students dont pay all the time at the georgia avenue subway stop, the metro employees do not care at all


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