WASHINGTON - A Germantown man says he was arrested for evading his fare at the Tenleytown Metro station Thursday even though he says he had a complimentary one-way pass to ride the rails.
Ray Hall says he works at Fannie Mae and regularly rides the Red Line from Tenleytown to Shady Grove. After a recent unpleasant trip, he says he was given five free passes for one-way rides on the system.
Thursday afternoon, Hall says he presented one of those passes at the Tenleytown station, but instead of being permitted to board a train, he was handcuffed and taken into custody.
"Once I went through, two Metro Transit officers came up to me and was like, ‘What is that?’ and I’m like, ‘It’s a complimentary free ride.’ And they was like, ‘We’ve never seen them,’” said Hall. “Before I could say they are from Metro, he snatched my hand behind my back and was like, ‘You’re going to jail for fare evasion.’”
However, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel says what Hall presented to the officers was an expired complimentary pass, and when he was asked for identification, Hall refused to provide it and asked to speak to a supervisor.
Hall disputes that claim and says he flashed a legitimate pass, which he says the officers did not know anything about.
"He never read me my rights. He was still asking me questions about it, taking me up the escalator, like, ‘Where did you get these? Where did you get these?’” said Hall. “I said I got them from Metro and he was like, ‘No, we don’t issue those.’”
Metro confirmed to FOX 5 that the transit agency sent Hall five complimentary passes on Dec. 1 and when Hall complained that he had not received them, he was sent five additional passes.
"I think it's a training issue because when I spoke with one of the senior commanders, he did state that it was a training issue,” Hall said.
Hall says he was in custody for about four hours before being released.
Stessel told FOX 5 that Hall was in possession of valid passes and if he had shown them to police officers and provided identification, everything would have been okay.
Metro says they hand out about 150 free passes per month to riders who may have been inconvenienced or complained about service.