A Metro committee recommended yesterday installing automatic teller machines in subway stations to dispense cash and Farecards to passengers.
Transit officials said the machines would be a convenience for subway riders and could provide additional revenue for the financially pressed Metro system. The machines would allow passengers to buy fare tickets without using cash by charging them automatically to their bank accounts, officials said.
Several other moves to improve service at rail stations also were announced, including a proposal to set aside special parking spaces at Metro lots for car pools. Virginia officials announced plans to start a low-cost taxi system Saturday to serve subway passengers in Arlington County.
The teller machines are considered likely to be installed on an experimental basis next year at six stations in the District, Maryland and Virginia. Officials said the machines may be put in service at other stations if they prove popular with passengers and beneficial for Metro and for financial institutions.
Officials warned, however, that the proposal involves "unproven technology" for dispensing Farecards and other forms of fare tickets, such as flash passes. The Metro board's Planning and Administration Committee tentatively approved the plan, but called for further review before beginning the experiment.
The six stations cited as possible sites for the teller machines are Bethesda, Huntington, Metro Center, New Carrollton, Potomac Avenue and Rosslyn. Officials said a recent survey showed that more than 60 percent of subway riders now have bank cards for use in teller machines.
Under the long-debated plan, the machines would be installed by a financial institution. Metro eventually could gain revenue by collecting a share of any fees charged by the institution for use of the machines or through a lease or similar agreement, officials said.
Under the car pool proposal, some spaces at Metro lots would be restricted to cars carrying at least two or possibly three persons. Officials said the spaces would be among those closest to a station's entrance. The committee recommended testing the plan at Huntington, New Carrollton and Shady Grove.
Officials said the proposal was drawn up because of increasing congestion at Metro lots.
The taxi plan, sponsored by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, will offer 80-cent rides between the Ballston rail station and South Arlington from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on weekdays and from 7:45 a.m. on Saturdays to 12:30 a.m. Sundays.
The plan, financed by a $25,000 grant from the Virginia highway agency, is expected to be less costly than increasing bus service.