Metro says technical glitch caused additional peak fares

March 12, 2013
(Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

A “technical glitch” caused Metro to charge peak fares for an additional hour on Monday morning, affecting about 23,000 riders throughout the rail system, a spokesman said Tuesday.

An automatic update that should have changed the time at Metro’s faregates failed to go through, creating the extra hour of charges, said Dan Stessel, a spokesman for the transit agency.

“It appears to be system-wide,” Stessel said.

About 23,000 riders were charged during the extra hour. Metro issued refunds to all of the affected customers by sending a credit for the extra charges to their cards, Stessel said. This refund should be processed the next time a rider enters the system.

However, at least two riders who were charged peak fares on Monday reported not receiving a refund by Tuesday afternoon.

Stessel said that riders who have not received the refund by Tuesday evening should contact customer service. Additionally, anyone who used paper farecards during the extra hour of peak service should also contact customer service, he said.

Metro doesn’t know why the update failed to occur, according to Stessel. “We’ll take appropriate steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Stessel disputed the suggestion that Metro has a problem when the clocks change. Last November, the rail system was supposed to stay open for an additional hour after clocks were turned back an hour, but it shut down an hour earlier than announced.

“They are no way related,” Stessel said. “The only thing they have in common is that they are related to a time change, but they’re totally different departments. One is human error and one is a technical glitch.”

Mark your calendars, Metro riders: Clocks are turned back again on Sunday, Nov. 3.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Mark Berman · March 12, 2013