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SmarTrip's brain bigger, but slower

If you noticed the Metro fare gates take a beat longer to open when you tap down a SmarTrip card, don't replace the card. Metro says it recently upgraded its fare collection technology to handle more complex transactions with the electronic cards. But that means it's taking longer for the circular target on the fare gate to read the card information.

The processing delay is slight. A visitor to Washington using a SmarTrip card or the first time wouldn't be aware of it. But commuters who have been using their cards twice a day for years maintain a certain pace going through the gates. It's embedded in their muscle memory.

So lately, they've been surprised to find themselves striding right into the orange gate guards after smacking their cards against the SmarTrip target. Had they changed their pace? Were the electronics failing on their cards?

The fault lies not in our cards, but in our fare gates. Metro has been trying for a long time to make SmarTrip smarter, so it can perform extra functions such as deducting the peak of the peak surcharge, adding the value of a weekly pass or reflecting fare value the rider added online. The transit authority has installed new software and hardware as part of this fare collection upgrade, known as Nextfare.

The SmarTrip target on the fare gate now has a greater ability to exchange information with your SmarTrip card. But the added capability means it takes more time for card and target to communicate, Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said.

This is leading to a slower response at the gate. Taubenkibel said Metro is looking for ways to speed up this information processing.

Slow down
Meantime, Metro's advice is to hold the card on the fare gate target longer than you would have so you don't cut off the connection between the card and the reader.

This communicating is done with a low power, short distance radio frequency signal. The card must be within range of the target to initiate and complete the communication. If the card is moved away from the target before all of the information has been exchanged, the communications sequence between the card and target must start over, Taubenkibel said.

"Customers may notice that if they quickly pass their card over the target, as they have become used to doing, the card or target may not receive all of the data and the transaction may not be completed as quickly as it was done in the past," he said. "Customers should touch their card to the target and hold it there until the fare gate opens."

Slight as the delay is, I think it's going to annoy the regulars. I've had discussions with rush-hour riders who get impatient when people pause to allow the gate guards to close ahead of them before tapping their cards. This new idea of pressing and holding the card is going to ruin their day.

What's your experience? Do you think we can handle this delay? I haven't noticed it on the Metrobuses, but then I always thought it took a tad longer for the card to communicate with the fare box than with the fare gate.

By Robert Thomson  | August 4, 2010; 9:20 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, SmarTrip  
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Comments

Swiping my card on the red line is definitely slower now. Like many, I figured my card was going bad but now I won't worry about that.

I'm looking forward to the end of the year when WMATA may re-launch their 3-purse plan for the SmarTrip cards. They didn't give enough notice last year and scrapped the plan when companies/riders complained (WMATA seemed surprised that not all SmartBenefits users are feds).

Anyway, I don't know that WMATA will do any better this year when advising companies of their plans to separate transit and parking on our SmarTrip cards. If they go ahead with it, I can only believe that transaction times will increase.

Posted by: AIRS91 | August 4, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock, can you please look into the bus transfer issue for the peak of the peak fares? I sent an email to you and to WMATA's SmarTrip service center, but I have not heard back from them yet.

Coming home from work yesterday from West Falls Church to McPherson Square, the fare is normally $3.60 in rush hour, but I get on the train after getting off the bus so the fare is $3.10 because of the 50 cent transfer discount. Yesterday though, I was expecting a fare of $3.30 because of the peak of the peak, but it charged me $3.80 instead which is the normal fare plus 20 cents. I confirmed this today with my SmarTrip history online. Did anyone else who transfers from bus to rail have this problem yesterday?

Posted by: inlogan | August 4, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

It also would help if stations like Foggy Bottom would have more than TWO fare gates working during rush hours.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 4, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

If Metro is going to change or upgrade software and increase rates, they need to make sure the system works before subjecting the riders to their system. At Foggy Bottom last night and again this morning, the gates were not even working, we were crushed into a fewer number of gates than normal causing a giant backup from gates to escalators. Unacceptable service for increased prices.

Posted by: asoos1 | August 4, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Just one in a long line of metro mishaps and mismanagement.

Posted by: 123cartoon | August 4, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

This is why it would be nice to get some sort of other signal other that the card was read other than the green light that shows up under the card where you can't actually see it.

In London and other big cities when you swipe your card (in London its the Oyster card) the machine beeps to let you know that it worked. Its just like the beep at the grocery store. I would love for that to happen here. Then people would stop running into the gate blockers and it would also encourage people who wait for the machine to close to not wait as long because they now know they just have to listen to for the beep.

Will this help everyone? No. But it should help enough that it will get a flow going for the regulars again.

Posted by: archers44 | August 4, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Glad to know it's not just me. I'm used to tapping and going - now I have to linger, then go. It'll definitely slow things down at the fare gates.

Posted by: SavedByZero | August 4, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I don't care about taking a second or two longer when I'm not trying to catch a train (provided it's on time...) or if there's no one behind me. I do care about being shoved into that awful orange barrier that's right at groin level during rush hour when people are in a rush trying to make a connection. Let's face it...that extra second or two is going to cause problems at heavily used stations.

Shady Grove had a single faregate working this morning and of all the ones to be working it has to be the disabled one that requires the barrier to close completely before another person can use it. If the fares have gotten so complex that we can't get collection equipment working properly and promptly then that's a sign that things need to be simplified. I'm just waiting for the peak of the peak of the peak that will be proposed next year!

Posted by: Razor04 | August 4, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I can definitely corroborate that Foggy Bottom was a mess yesterday afternoon. We were heading to the Kennedy Center and arrived at the FB station between 5:15-5:30 and the mass of riders trying to get into the metro was backed up to within a few feet of the bottom of the escalators with people coming down the escalator in droves. There were only two turnstiles working and not working well.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 4, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

They had the same problem with the gates last evening at Vienna, didn't appear as if any of the outbound gates were working at all. People were going from gate to gate, cutting across lines, trying to find a gate that worked.

And during this entire activity, the station manager just sat by his little booth not saying anything, not doing anything. Just sat there with his hands folded in front of him watching the disaster.

Several of us found a gate that was stuck open and just decided to walk.

Posted by: mika_england | August 4, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

its going to take getting used. tried to walk at normal metro commuting pace and nearly walked into people and nearly walked into the gates, twice.

metro, you suck as usual.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | August 4, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Same faregate issues at Farragut West. And two machines labeled "paper cards only." Why??

Posted by: busgirl1 | August 4, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

it seems absurd that it would take that much longer to do a few additional (trivial) calculations. probably there is something fundamentally wrong with this architecture--like doing calculations centrally now because the fare gates were not intended to do complex calculations. this would be worth asking Metro about. did they know that their fare proposal was not capable of being implemented in a sensible way? did they investigate what it would take to do this before making the proposal?

Posted by: Chaucer2 | August 4, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I knew it! I knew something was wrong and I figured that maybe their massive fare increases had something to do with it. I mean, even the SmarTrip card has trouble comprehending Metro's idiocy and incompetence on a daily basis...

Its insignificant yes, if you don't use the system much, but to those of us who do use it most days, slamming your legs into the fare gates hurts and it's embarrassing!

Posted by: Nixonin08 | August 4, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I understand there are certain complexities involved in calculating the new fare structure, but people have been designing low-latency transaction systems for years - look at EZPass for instance.

Fix it or use something else.

Posted by: rnorwood01 | August 4, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The slow gates don't bother me nearly as much as the slow trains.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | August 4, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

HA HA HA and METRO ALSO TOOK EXTRA MONEY OFF YOUR CARDS!!! CHECK YOUR BALANCES ON YOUR CARDS!! SOME PEOPLE HAVE NOTICED AN EXTRA $ .20 OVER THE PEAK FARE!!! They also charged me $8.05 oneway to go from Smithsonian to Shady Grove ~ almost DOUBLE FARE!! My paper card shows it! Metro is nice and sending me free fare tickets... BUT HOW MANY OTHERS PAID ATTENTION TO THEIR BALANCES! WHO HASN'T NOTICED..... METRO QUIETLY STEALING MONEY FROM THE RIDERS!!

Posted by: pattyzlife823 | August 4, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that in Boston, the fare gates have a raised circular target where you touch the smart card. The circular bump is visually well-defined and makes it easier to hold onto the card with your fingertips, which would help people to proceed with confidence.

I would also vote for any light or beep that gives feedback to the rider. Thank heaven I don't use Metro much.

Posted by: jworthey | August 4, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

The delay in the gates reflect the delays in the trains arriving as they "upgrade" the system.

Posted by: AxelDC | August 4, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I am confused... not hard when it comes to the Metro. Wait, maybe they are confused.

Isn't it a one way communication? The card has a magic number that the machine reads. The card does not have a memory chip or any ability to save/write information sent by the card reader. The card does not store any other information about the account such as the balance. So, why do they need more time to communicate between the reader and the card? Once it has the account number, there is nothing more to read and nothing to write. So why do they need a "connection between the card and the reader"?

Posted by: mikebecvar | August 4, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

For the past three days I have attempted to collect my Smartbenefits and Add Value to my Smartrip card. Please know that I have been riding Metro for the past 18 months and each month I collect my Smartbenefits and Add Value to my Smartrip card. I followed all of the appropriate prompts at the machines at Eastern Market, Farragut West and Foggy Bottom. I get all the way through to paying for the Additional Value and the machine cancels the transaction. I was worried that perhaps the problem was with my debit card so I tried using a credit card but got the same results.

Today I spent approximately 45 minutes on my first call to customer service. The customer service person could not find any problems with my Smartrip card and my Smartbenefits of $40 are available for me to retrieve. She suggested that I try retrieving my Smartbenefits and Additional Value by trying at off peak hours. So I walked back to Foggy Bottom and tried at approximately 12:30 PM but to no avail.

When I got back to my office I called Metro Customer Service again but what not able to resolve the issue unless I sent my card it for testing; in the meantime I would have to pay the higher fare rates or I could turn in my card and pay an additional $5 for a new card. Neither of these options makes any sense because I do not believe that the problem is with my Smartrip Card. I believe that you have a software issue at your machines but I can't get anyone to acknowledge the problem and open an investigation on the software being used at the machines. Just yesterday Metro experienced major problems with access due to software failures. Is it so hard to believe that perhaps the issue here is the software at the machines? I guess we will never know as no one at Metro Customer Service knows how to get the issue resolved.

Posted by: Shelby2 | August 4, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

what ever happened to take time to smell the roses - I mean if people complain about additional latency of 1-2 seconds for the card readers then you have nothing better to do! YUCK - I am tired of hearing people complain about Metro service - if you don't like it, don't use it...pay for a cab or buy a car!

Posted by: nova_mom_08 | August 4, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I noticed this last week and I, too, thought my card might need to be replaced.

We got no "heads-up" from Metro, am I right? I wonder how many folks are needlessly getting their SmarTrip cards replaced right now.

Posted by: WorkingDaddy | August 4, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

nova_mom, you clearly need to put on some shoes and get out of the kitchen. Metro is reducing service while operating over capacity. That means things that add 1-2 seconds cause injuries and backups.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 4, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and there aren't roses to smell, just Metro Stink.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 4, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I knew something was up! My card works fine on the bus but I thought my card was dying when I tried to pass through the gate. It is an nuisance in a string of mishaps by metro. Instead of raising rates, they should look at metro employee's pay rates.

Posted by: krzyleo | August 4, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

jiji1 - thanks so much for the tip - I take the bus and Metro every day to commute to work - but next time I have a day off I'll think of your comment and smile.

Posted by: nova_mom_08 | August 4, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I've noticed and have had many injuries as a result of the fare gate closing too quickly and slamming shut on my hips. Reporting it to the station manager does nothing. One morning at Farragut West, it was so bad that it put me on the ground in pain. I tried to get the station manager to assist, but he told me that he was going on break.

Posted by: CalmTruth | August 4, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I wondered what was up, yeah. Thanks for not telling us things, WMATA.

Posted by: amm72 | August 4, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of SmarTrip cards, I added $37 to my card near the end of last month. Metro added that amount to my card, then helped itself to another $40 (as a separate transaction). The $40 does not show up on my receipt or my account balance, just as a deduction from my bank account.
I call this theft.

Posted by: JakesFriend | August 4, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It's not likely to cause a huge liability unless the gates re-injure an old sports injury. Then it could be millions.

Posted by: blasmaic | August 4, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

At this point I think we all need to start auditing the money going in and coming out of our SmarTrip cards because WMATA is having serious problems. Their systems for financial transactions are not working and they don't seem to know what is going on. I can check my SmarTrip transactions on the WMATA website:
https://smartrip.wmata.com/Account/AccountLogin.aspx

I need to check them against my bank's transactions.

What did Dr. Gridlock say a few weeks ago? "Fix something, AC, escalators, anything"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/26/AR2010062603361.html

Posted by: AIRS91 | August 4, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

There is a way to tell if your card has been read. Look down at the little display on top fo the gate when you touch your card, and when it's read, it will display the balance on your card as you enter the system and then, when you exit, it shows the new balance and the fare deducted. As soon as those items show up, you know it's read and the gates open. If you wait to see those numbers pop up, you won't walk in.

Is this something that only I notice because I am hard of hearing and need visual cues? A beep doesn't work for those of us disabled. Just look at the top of the gate - it will tell you when it's been read or not.

Posted by: DCCenturion | August 4, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I've noticed it for a while and figured my Type A-ness had gotten worse. It's not the end of the world to have a muscle-memory pace interrupted. But it's annoying.

Posted by: sylviasmith1 | August 4, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The balance and amount of the trip does display on the fare gate. And I use that regularly but sometimes the display is broken or if you slap it twice you get the see station manager message ensuring that you have no idea what the balance was.

I realize that the beep won't work for everyone but the balance display isn't working and hasn't ever worked for the majority so time to come up with something else. A beep (in addition to keeping the balance display for those who are hard of hearing) is in my opinion a win win.

Posted by: archers44 | August 4, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

The faregates, fare machines, SmartCards, and the software the operates them are wholly owned by Cubic Transportaion Systems (CTS) as they have been since the inception of Metro. The software and hardware designers ARE NOT LOCATED IN THE METRO AREA. Metro personel are at the mercy of them.

As for replacing the system, forget about it. CTS OWNS the faregates, fare machines, and all the software that runs them. They will never allow Metro to replace any part of the system with aything from another vendor.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | August 4, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

So the new pace is a little slower. By a second. Maybe even TWO!! Big deal. A small inconvenience but one we will get used to (have to) in time. No biggie.

Posted by: redrocket | August 4, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Metro: "We apologize for the delay as we seek new ways to rape you."

Posted by: jiji1 | August 4, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Let's see. We're sealing with light-speed technology and the IT folks have figured out how to slow that down to something that a mere human can notice. Great work!

Posted by: david23 | August 4, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Is this a joke? Foggy Bottom gates haven't been working for over a week now. Third World Service. I have to laugh because this is so ridiculous.

Posted by: TG10 | August 4, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Alas how many more problems can metro inflict on its users? Yes Farragut West and other stations have been a mess as none of the gates have been working. My card is consistently not registering. And now I find out I need to double check to see if I'm being overcharged!

By the way, the ADD FARE machines for SmartTrip cards (particularly at Rosslyn) have been f'ed up for weeks now. It takes me 4 times on average to enter all the info, swipe my credit card, and hold my breath while waiting to see if my transaction is cancelled or actually goes through. Pain in the ARSE!

Posted by: stonemtn_girl | August 4, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

And now, two days in a row, we've had a modified exit at Vienna during peak-of-the-peak. On Monday, at 4:45, they swiped us back in to the station and let us swipe out on our own for an in-and-out-of-the-station fare. I heard from others that later in the day, they just opened the faregates for everyone. Today at 5:30, they were sending all of us SmarTrip users through the emergency exit gate. I'd hate to think of how much WMATA is losing on this upgrade!

Posted by: jkuchen | August 4, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

At my hourly billing rate, Metro's intolerably slow data processing is costing me (or my clients, I should say) a small bundle of pennies every day. I'm too important to have to deal with this.

Posted by: JTSpangler | August 4, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

I am in favor of the beep confirmation. The only indication the transaction is complete is a small change in your card value display. This may help keep people moving through gates (which, by the way, do not need to close between passengers).

My understanding is that there is data flowing back and forth between the gate and card. I am sure this is faster than merely using a reference number to a distant database.

Posted by: proof | August 4, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the "cha-ching" sound effect would be a more appropriate sound to alert SmarTrip users their card has been read by a gate and can move on.

Posted by: proof | August 5, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Since this latest fare increase I have noticed even more problems with the gates at Metro aside from the noticably slower gates. Yesterday during the evening rush hour the gates wouldn't even work resulting in a Metro worker standing out front telling customers "If your card isn't working and the gate is open, walk through." Seriously? I have to wonder if this "peak-of-the-peak" fare increase will ultimately cost more to implement negating any increased revenue projected that is supposed to cover budget deficits.

Posted by: devilsadvocate3 | August 5, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Since Metro zeroed out my SmarTrip cards due to inactivity I've not had a chance to notice a processing cycle.

Posted by: carlmi3 | August 5, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Both Tuesday & Wednesday, when I arrived at the Vienna metro station at approximately 5PM, there was a huge (HUGE!) throng of people trying to get thru the gates. As a result, I missed the bus that I usually can catch without any problems at all, but because of the farecard machines being very slow, I had to wait close to 20 minutes for the next bus. Talk about being annoyed!

Posted by: reliza17 | August 5, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock,
Can you tell me why for the past 2 nights I have been trapped in the New Carrolton station parking lot? The SmarTrip readers do not work and it takes at least 15 minutes for someone to show up after you call the number posted at the gate. It's about 9pm when I arrive. Very frustrating to say the least. And we won't even get into the attitude you get from the Metro workers. Or the fact that from Farragut West all the way to New Carrolton last night, no air conditioning. Must have been at least 95 degrees on that train.

If they know the readers aren't working, why isn't someone posted at the gate to assist people? Typical metro.

Posted by: got2party | August 5, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock,
FYI, only one SmartTrip exit gate working at Dupont South this AM. We were allowed to pass through an open/out of service gate, but of course, will have to deal with getting our cards "fixed" before reentering the system for the afternoon commute. Lovely.

Posted by: DC84 | August 5, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Unbelieveable. Metro equipment is becoming as slow and lazy as the workers.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | August 5, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

To all you Metro defenders - don't tell me THIS is due to lack of funding. It's sheer incompetence, a condition that is rabid throughout this awful transit system.

Posted by: Trout1 | August 5, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

This was mentioned twice in the comments, but it looks like most people ignored it:

The gate has recognized your card when the card balance display changes. Then you know you can walk through without the orange gates crushing your pelvis.

An audible beep alone would not comply with ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act). Combining it with a more intuitive visual cue would be ideal.

In fact, I agree with the other comments that say removing the orange gates all together would be the tops. In their place, install a bank of lights that change from red (don't go) to green (go ahead). You could even have a laser beam during the red time that, when broken, would alert the station manager that there's a delinquent rider. It's the same technology that stops the grocery store conveyor belts. Simple, clean, and unobtrusive.

Of course, then you'd need station managers who do their jobs.

Posted by: rfiii | August 5, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

The problem at Foggy Bottom (only two readers working) has been happening off and on for at least two weeks!

Posted by: cstimpso | August 5, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

To Mikebecvar:

Isn't it a one way communication?:
-- No it's 2-way communication. The fare is deducted from the amount stored on the card.

The card does not have a memory chip or any ability to save/write information:
-- the card has a computer chip built into it to store dollar amounts and track entry and exit from the system

The card does not store any other information about the account such as the balance:
-- the card indeed stores the value you add to the card as well as entry and exit info. Remember Metro fares are based on distance traveled on Metro

Posted by: Jimof1913 | August 5, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

A related question that some other comments indicated:

Is this "bigger brain" also causing problems with loading the smartrip card using credit/debit cards? Last week, I twice got a message from a metro machine that my transaction (using my debit card to refill my smartrip) had "failed." While it had failed to put money on my card, it did successfully take money out of my bank account. Both times. My roommate reported the same thing happening to her. We each lost over $40 to metro in these "failed" transactions.

We're both trying to get our money back from metro, but it seems that there's a problem going on here. Is this being addressed?

Posted by: jacques12 | August 6, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

I was actually stopped by metro police after I went through the turnstile for this reason. I put down my SmarTrip card, the gates were open, and I went through. Then they pulled me aside, told me "you know why we stopped you" (Actually, I had no idea and thought he just wanted to chat me up. Ha. WRONG.) and then accused me of "skipping on the fare - you know what you did." (Again, no, I put my card down that had $20 on it and I walked through.) They (there were two of them questioning me) made me explain where I was coming from, asked for my balance, and then one left to check my card and the other stayed with me. Once they realized I was TELLING THE TRUTH I was told, "It's fine this time, but you need to slow down when you walk through." Seriously? A PAYING CUSTOMER is your biggest problem?!

Posted by: Andrea6 | August 6, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Earlier this week, I swiped my card at Union Station as I followed behind someone else so the gate was still open when I swiped. It appeared to show my balance (it was a Monday and I was entering into the station so I wasn't totally sure of my balance at the time) and I walked forward to have the orange guard close on my knees.

I somehow got through and wondered whether it had read my card or not for sure. When I got to my destination, it let me through the gate fine without telling me to see the manager so I assume the original swipe at Union worked too.

Posted by: JeffQ73 | August 6, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Andrea6 - that happened to me too!! I made the HUGE mistake of following a metro worker through the gate, touching my card after she had touched hers without waiting for the gate to close. She turned around, SCREAMED at me, and accused me of not touching my card! Of course I had, which she realized when she grabbed my card from me and, walking as slow as humanly possible, took it into her little booth to check the balance. But did I get an apology? Nope. She glared at me when she gave me my card back. So, I told her that she was very rude to me, which prompted her to scream some more. I did file a complaint for that one, and apparently she had to take some class.

Part of me pities that worker, though....think of how terrible her life must be if she thinks that was an appropriate way to act. Sheesh.

Posted by: jscof | August 6, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I've been in very long lines to exit at West Falls Church the last 2 evenings. For everyone who thinks that 1-2 seconds isn't a big deal, multiply that by the number of people exiting a train at a busy station like WFC. Then add on the people moving from gate to gate to get their cards to read. It adds up to several minutes of delay EACH for hundreds of people at the backs of the lines.

Posted by: PubPeople | August 6, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

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