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Metrorail riders get a break on fares

Metro riders got an tyson.gifunexpected break on higher fares for about 12 hours from Monday night until Tuesday morning, after a death on the Red Line set in motion a chain of events that caused fare gates at all stations to revert to early 2010 prices.

After a man jumped on to the tracks Monday evening at Grosvenor-Strathmore Metrorail station, Metro instituted what it calls "Zero Fare," to allow customers to exit the same station they just entered without paying a fare.

"This feature allows customers to exit without a fare being assessed if they determine that they would prefer to find another way to get to their destination," said Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

But after the incident ended, all fare gates in the rail system defaulted to the prices that were in place in early 201o, before both the June 27 fare hikes and the 10-cent surcharge that took place in February.

Riders paid lower fares from about 10 p.m. on Monday through 10:15 a.m. Tuesday. "Staff is currently investigating the cause of the problem," Farbstein said. Metro could not immediately provide an estimate of the lost revenue.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

By Michael Bolden  | June 30, 2010; 6:40 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Metro, Red Line  
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Why does Metro not have the "Zero-Fare" policy in effect at *all* times?

Are they afraid of missing the charge on "joyriders" who make a roundtrip without leaving a station? Or people who'd rather conduct business meetings in the mezzanine of Capitol South station, then return home?

Posted by: Chris737 | July 1, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm wondering the same thing as Chris. There have definitely been times when a train was delayed enough that I left the station and found an alternate route, but not so delayed that they set the turnstiles to "Zero Fare."

Are there any places one might go on the Metro where one could go shopping or buy food or see entertainment without passing through the turnstile to exit? If not, then I doubt that people are choosing to put up with crowded delayed trains if they don't have anywhere to go and are just going to ride back to their own station.

Posted by: DOEJN | July 2, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

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