Photo by PoPville flickr user Beau Finley
“Metro’s Board of Directors today approved the Rush Hour Promise program, a first-of-its-kind service guarantee for Metro customers. Beginning with tomorrow morning’s rush hour commute, on Friday, January 26, if a Metrorail or Metrobus customer using a registered SmarTrip® card is delayed by 15 minutes or more, Metro will credit the customer’s SmarTrip card for future travel.
The service guarantee comes at a time of improved reliability, demonstrating Metro’s progress getting “back to good.” Nearly 90 percent of customers now arrive at their destination on time as a result of Metro’s investment in new trains, enhanced maintenance programs and renewed track infrastructure. Trips exceeding the 15-minute delay threshold are extremely rare, accounting for less than one percent of trips on many days.
“Rush Hour Promise is our commitment to riders that we are accountable for providing reliable, on-time service,” said Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld. “We want our customers to know that we value their time, and we’re going to do everything we can to keep them moving safely and efficiently.”
For rail customers, the program is automated — a first in the transit industry. During weekday rush hours, if a customer’s trip takes 15 minutes or longer than the expected travel time range, measured from the time the customer “taps in” to the system to the time they “tap out,” Metro will automatically issue a credit to the customer’s SmarTrip card. For customers paying with stored value or using SmartBenefits, the credit will cover the full value of the delayed trip.
Almost all common causes of delays are covered under the Rush Hour Promise, including mechanical issues, track problems, police activity and sick customers. Rail customers eligible for a credit will be notified by email the next business day and a credit will be issued to their SmarTrip card within 5 business days.
The Rush Hour Promise includes Metrobus service, as well, covering delays of 15 minutes or more caused by mechanical problems or “no show” buses. Because bus customers do not “tap out” at the end of their trip, a simple online form is provided where customers can request Rush Hour Promise credit. After confirming the delay, a credit will be applied to the customer’s registered SmarTrip card. To participate in Rush Hour Promise, all a customer needs is a registered SmarTrip card. Registration is free at wmata.com/SmarTrip and has the added benefit of protecting the value on the card in case of loss or theft.
There are a handful of circumstances where the Rush Hour Promise does not apply
Major capital work or repair projects when customer notification is made in advance.
Severe weather events (e.g. major winter snowstorms) when Metro service is adjusted and/or customer notification is made in advance.
Extraordinary circumstances or “force majeure” events, such as a region-wide blackout or major security incident, when service is affected.
Metrobus trips delayed by traffic, weather or factors outside Metro’s control.
Customers using pass products such as the monthly SelectPass, One Day Pass and Seven Day Pass that are already discounted will receive a $3 credit for delayed Metrorail trips and $1 credit for delayed Metrobus trips under the program. U-Pass and Kids Ride Free passes are not eligible for the Rush Hour Promise.”