Metro to consider refunds when it makes you late

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Metro may soon consider a plan to put its money where its mouth is when it guarantees to get you to work on time.

Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld is set to release details of his proposal for the “Rush Hour Promise” on Monday, The Washington Post reports. The proposal promises that if you experience a delay of 15 minute or longer on your peak-period rail or Metrobus ride, the fare will be refunded to your SmarTrip card.

The idea is to bring riders back to Metro because ridership has been dropping over the past decade.

Metro research shows when a trip takes 30 minutes or more than it should, people reduce how often they ride or quit riding altogether.

The system now sees an average ridership of 615,000 people on an average weekday, down from 750,000 just 10 years ago.

At the Shady Grove Metro station, riders like Manny, who declined to give his last name, support the plan.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Manny said, hoping this will make a change in service. “I feel like it hasn’t really been doing that well. They’re supposed to be back to good, but I don’t see it.”

Currently, Manny says he has to plan for delays, instead of depending on Metro getting him to work on time.

“I actually get here (the Metro station) earlier because of it,” he said.

He hopes this plan will make Metro more reliable, as he would prefer extra time in the morning over the refund.

”I’d definitely get more sleep,” he said.

Under the proposal, there are some cases where a refund would not be given. Those situations include when major capital projects are underway, as well as regional emergencies, major weather-related delays or closures on rail.

On buses, traffic congestion would void a refund. The refund is meant to pay out for late dispatches or mechanical breakdowns.

Customers will have to be use a registered SmarTrip card to get the refunds. The refunds would be automatic for rail riders but bus riders would have to fill out an online form.

The “Rush Hour Promise” proposal will be released Monday and be voted on during the Metro Safety and Service Delivery Committee meeting Thursday. If it passes that committee, the full Metro Board will vote on it Jan. 25.

If the proposal is passed, the plan would go into effect on Jan. 26.


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