Metro (WMATA)

Metro Says Riders Aren't Paying for 13% of Weekday Trips, Eyes New Gates to Cut Fare Evasion

Could new Metro faregates help cut down on a multi-million-dollar problem?

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For the first time, Metro says it is able to get an accurate count of the number of riders who are not paying their fare on the system — and the numbers are staggering.

According to Metro documents, riders took an average of 321,000 trips on weekdays from the start of this year through last week. But 13% of riders did not pay the fare.

That equates to more than 41,000 free rides per day. The Metro Board will be briefed on the new figures Thursday.

Metro’s newest faregates — like the ones we have featured at Fort Totten — can register when a rider does not pay the fare.

Metro says it is now going to spend an additional $35 to $40 million to upgrade faregates with more "swinging door" plexiglass gates. They're taller than the gates in most Metro stations, making them difficult to jump over.

Metro has estimated that fare evasion costs the transit system $40 million a year — squeezing a budget already hit by ridership that hasn't recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

Metro's statistics show they've issued 207 tickets for fare evasion or failure to pay so far this year — much more than last year at this time.

But the latest figures indicate only a tiny fraction of fare evaders were ticketed.

More than 2.2 million riders have skipped paying the fare in that time, Metro’s own statistics suggest.

Reporter Adam Tuss and the News4 team are covering you down on the roads and in transit. Go here for full coverage.

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