WASHINGTON - Metro riders who enter a station and decide to leave because of delays or over-crowding have taken advantage of the transit system's new grace period that allows them to collect credit for the ride they did not take.
The 'tap-in, tap-out' grace period was used about 625,000 times between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. The policy was started by WMATA general manager Paul Wiedefeld and was one of his first customer-friendly initiatives he put into place.
WAMU transportation reporter and FOX 5 contributor, Martin Di Caro, said Metro credited $1.1 million to riders' SmarTrip cards for times the customer entered and left without boarding a train.
Before the policy was put into place, many riders gripped about having to pay even though they exited to avoid delays and crowds.
Di Caro said that refunds due to trains running late are hardly issued. Rather, the transit system advises passengers to request refunds through a phone call to customer service.
A pilot program that would have made issuing refunds easier was cancelled last year by Wiedefeld, Di Caro said, due to a lack of participation and limited use of smart chip technology.