Imprisoned by the Metro

Union Station On a recent trip to Washington, DC I almost became a prisoner of the Metro Station.  I enjoyed using the Metro and it took me all over the “District”, Arlington, VA, and Oxon Hill, MD but  I never understood the toll system.

The stations were clean and quiet and I got a seat on several trains. The platforms were too dark to read the paper but perhaps that doesn’t matter anymore since  most people were reading backlit I-phones and Blackberries.  Or maybe it’s just MY eyes.

The curious part to me, however, is the payment. Unlike the NYC subways, you have to swipe your card again to leave the station.  I guess it’s more like the thruway where you pay for distance traveled.  This was never clearly posted.

On one trip when the swipe machine stole my card, I thought, “No big deal” because it let me enter the station. When it came time to leave, there was no way to open the turnstile.  I was chastised by the clerk who let me out.  My next trip, I held tightly onto my card, only to find there wasn’t enough money on it to spring me out.  I posted bail and finally was released.