SmarTrip problems at Metro lots
From time to time, Metro riders who park at the transit lots and garages report problems with the SmarTrip card readers at the exits, but in the past week, the reports have been more widespread than usual. Here's an example.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I park at the Landover stop on a daily basis and for the past couple of days, the SmarTrip readers for exiting the parking lot have been broken.
The lot attendants have to have everyone exiting fill out a form saying that they will send in the payment. The line at rush hour is ridiculous! If their equipment is broken, then they should simply let people park for free.
Vinny Perez, Annapolis
Have you had a similar problem with the card readers recently, and have you noticed others having the same problem? The stations I've heard about from riders are New Carrollton, Rockville and now Landover. [Update: I heard from a rider who said I should add Vienna to the list. She said the stalled line was so long to get out of the south parking garage one evening last week that her husband walked home, then went back for the car a few hours later. Then on Monday, there was no line, because the gates were just left up.]
I'm asking the transit authority if it is aware of a widespread problem. It might be a quirk confined to a few stations on a few nights. Or perhaps it's related to the reprogramming of the SmarTrip system to handle more complex transactions.
In the past two weeks, we've discussed the slight slowdown in opening the fare gates caused by the programming upgrade. The parkers that I've been hearing from aren't reporting problems with the readers at the fare gates, just at the lot and garage exits.
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