Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Metro fare madness: 44,376 combinations calculate what we pay WMATA

October 11, 2011 - 04:06 PM
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Grab your calculator. (Photo: flickr/Pink Sherbet Photography)

Guys ... WMATA is killing us with these fares, right? They're high. They're brutal. And here's the thing — there's 44,376 combinations of them that WMATA has to calculate to charge you. No wonder no one can keep track.

Metro realizes what customers think, and they've got some ideas, presented today to the Board by the Finance and Administration Committee. But as the presentation repeatedly notes, these ideas are not proposals, merely "concept[s] under evaluation."

What are they floating? Maybe unlimited monthly fares for 40 times a rider's usual linked trip, maybe a dizzying set of concentric circles to calculate your fare, maybe free transfers between buses and trains, maybe eliminating peak-of-the-peak surcharges. Doesn't that sound grand? Or at least interesting and different?

Except they're not "proposals" and not even close to real yet. But what is real? 44,376 fare combinations that we pay every day to take the Metro to work and around D.C. See the wild slide of today's presentation in which WMATA alludes to how such a high number exists, complete with bubbles, exclamation points, peak-of-the-peak charges, paper ticket charges, elderly-person discounts, and more after the jump:

Chocolate strawberries
(Photo: WMATA)
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