WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

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WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby davinp » Wed May 30, 2018 10:13 am

Mr. Allen discussed several WMATA-related issues. WMATA has informed VRE it will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE riders during service disruptions. Without the ability to open the swing gates, the “Metro Option” will need to be discontinued. VRE will inform riders of this change, which is effective July 1, 2018, and encourage them to purchase a SmarTrip card for future incidents.

The "Metro Option" is where VRE riders can ride Metrorail for free when there is a big service disruption, which doesn't happen very often.

VRE is also continuing discussions with WMATA on the non-Metro rider parking surcharge for VRE riders at Franconia-Springfield.

Finally, with the announced Metrorail shutdown on the Yellow and Blue lines next summer, VRE is working on how it can respond to the change in commuting options during this period.

https://www.vre.org/about/board/board-a ... draft-pdf/
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Re: WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby MCL1981 » Wed May 30, 2018 11:08 am

This will presumably affect MARC since they do the same thing. This is going to infuriate a lot of people! I understand the logistical problem though. WMATA is locking down the emergency gates since they're flagrantly abused by faregate jumpers. I can't see any reasonable and functional solution through smart trip cards for riders to use or get reimbursed for. Any solution that involves utilizing the fare gate is bound to be a non-starter. So I think the end result will be MARC and VRE riders have to suck it up and pay.
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Re: WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby mtuandrew » Wed May 30, 2018 4:22 pm

Can’t be that many VRE or MARC riders without a SmartTrip card.
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Re: WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby MCL1981 » Thu May 31, 2018 6:01 am

mtuandrew wrote:Can’t be that many VRE or MARC riders without a SmartTrip card.

It's not that they don't have smart trip cards. That majority probably do have smart trip cards. It's that they will have to pay for the trip. which has always been a freebie through the emergency gate. That said, those people who only travel to the intermediate stops may very will not have a smart trip card and will be twice as screwed.
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Re: WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby jcepler1 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:03 am

The metro option has been a nice favor for the commuter railroads. if the red line is down, can i show my SmarTrip card to a MARC conductor and use that instead?
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Re: WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby STrRedWolf » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:21 pm

jcepler1 wrote:The metro option has been a nice favor for the commuter railroads. if the red line is down, can i show my SmarTrip card to a MARC conductor and use that instead?


MARC conductors do not have the reader for SmartTrip/CharmCards.
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?
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Re: WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby mmi16 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:49 am

Money -- It's all about money. Screw the users.
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Re: WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby davinp » Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:49 am

mmi16 wrote:Money -- It's all about money. Screw the users.


No it's not. Just received an email from VRE.

As a part of their efforts to keep Metro Safe, Reliable and Affordable, WMATA is making changes to their rail stations that will secure the gates previously used to allow VRE riders and others access to the system. Unfortunately, these changes will eliminate VRE’s ability to offer the Metro Option.

In the event of a service disruption, VRE riders may still use Metro as an alternative. However, riders will have to use a personal SmarTrip card and incur the cost of the trip.

Most riders probably already have a SmarTrip card because that is how we get our smart benefits
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Re: WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby MCL1981 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:34 am

I'm curious if the "metro option" that VRE and MARC use is something that VRE and MARC paid for. It obviously would be payment for an estimated amount since there was no accountability for who used it. Or if it was just something they all did to be nice to each other.
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Re: WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby STrRedWolf » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:59 pm

I got it from MARC as well. They forwarded the message from WMATA. No more Metro option.
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?
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Re: WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby STrRedWolf » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:28 pm

I just thought up of a way that could be a substitute "Metro Option":

  1. Customer gets a SmarTrip card.
  2. Customer registers the card with WMATA, then with MARC/VRE (specific to each line, of course).
  3. When the "Metro Option" is opened up, MARC/VRE will ask WMATA for who out of the registered-with-MARC/VRE list used Metro that day.
  4. MARC/VRE refunds that day's usage through WMATA to those who took Metro.

I'm sure MARC can do that right now, if that department of MTA can talk to the Fare Control and IT departments. VRE would need to tie in to WMATA, probably if VRE, MARC, and WMATA were to get a "Rail to Rail" pass on those cards (which is possible -- look at the CharmCards which are SmarTrip cards).
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?
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Re: WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby daybeers » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:27 am

But we all know that plan makes far too much sense for WMATA to implement it.
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Re: WMATA will no longer be able to open swing gates for VRE

Postby STrRedWolf » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:23 pm

daybeers wrote:But we all know that plan makes far too much sense for WMATA to implement it.


Wouldn't be up to WMATA. I think MTA can do refunding right now, since Charmcards are the same system. (Hint: I used to work for MTA's IT Department and helped a bit in this regard) VRE would need access to the system.
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