I am only an occasional user of Metrorail, from Dunn Loring to Farragut West. As a senior citizen, I use a discount Farecard, which is not available for parking. Almost always, my wife drives me to the station.

However, as she will not be available, I shall need to make a one-time use of the Dunn Loring parking lot. The fee is $3.75.

To ensure that I follow the new parking rules properly, I studied the machines at Dunn Loring. I found no useful information there. So I called Metro's information system.

I was told that I cannot, under any circumstances related to one-time use, exit the parking lot for $3.75. My only options are to purchase a $10 SmarTrip card at Dunn Loring or make a special journey to the Metro sales office to buy a $5 SmarTrip card.

Has everyone gone mad? Are SmarTrip cards really Dumb Trip cards?

Each of the three people with whom I spoke at Metro said, "I understand your concern, but I do not make the rules."

Well, thank you. When is someone going to do something about the rules?




Metro's move to fewer cars on night trains [front page, July 1] was described as a "subtle change." The same can be said of the elimination of the bonus on fare-card purchases of $20 or more during the last fare increase. This subtlety is insidious and needs to stop.

I wish to point out something else: the alarming refusal of Metro to take responsibility for its problems.

For example, a few months ago a Red Line fire south of Van Ness caused the line to be shut down. Many commuters were stranded on Connecticut Avenue for much of the morning. Metro officials said at the time that the commuters should have planned alternate routes.

More recently, the fiasco over the start of the new cashless parking system was caused by the high volume of commuters' transactions, according to Metro.

These are disturbing events in the downward spiral of what was once a great system. I'm going to look into the MARC trains from Frederick.


Mount Airy


Not only are Metro's tiny night trains a headache for passengers, they lead to extreme crowding that is unsafe. It is important that Metro reconsider this change [Metro, July 2].

I rode the Red Line to Dupont Circle recently carrying a large, heavy package. After Metro Center my car was packed, far more crowded than at rush hour. People were falling over one another, squeezed in so tight that it was difficult to breathe. To exit the car, I had to shove people out of the way with my box. Almost no one was able to get on the train at Dupont Circle, despite much pushing and yelling.

It's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt and Metro has a lawsuit on its hands. Think about how much that would cost -- probably more than reverting to four-car trains.


Takoma Park


The June 29 Metro story on the recent Metro rate changes said that "daily parking fees increased by 75 cents. Monthly reserved parking saw the biggest increase, rising by $10 to $45." I appreciate the humor (75 cents a day is a lot bigger than $10 a month, even in February), but I wish the article had a little more information.

For instance, how much have fares gone up in percentage terms?

I'm paying 51 percent more for my inside-the-Beltway bus-and-rail commute than I was paying in June of 2003. But the story didn't tell me if that is more or less of an increase than other people are facing.