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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA to refund fares for late trains, buses

Riders wait at WMATA's Wiehle-Reston East Station on the Silver Line.
Photo – Northern Virginia Transportation Commission


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has unveiled a new program that provides refunds for late trains and buses.

Known as the Rush Hour Promise, the program will credit riders' SmarTrip cards for future travel if a trains or buses are more than 15 minutes late.

For rail riders, the program is automated. If a train ride takes 15 minutes or longer than the expected travel time range — which is measured from the time the rider taps in to the system with their card to the time they tap out — WMATA automatically will issue a credit to the customer's SmarTrip card.

For bus trips, riders will need to fill out an online form to request the credit.

The credit will cover the full value of the delayed trip, agency officials said in a press release.

The program will cover nearly all common causes of delays, including mechanical issues, track problems, police activity or sick riders. Some circumstances where the Rush Hour Promise won't apply: major capital work or repair projects that WMATA announces in advance.

The program also won't cover severe weather events or "extraordinary circumstances" such as a regionwide blackout or major security incident.

"Rush Hour Promise is our commitment to riders that we are accountable for providing reliable, on-time service," said WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. "We want our customers to know that we value their time, and we're going to do everything we can to keep them moving safely and efficiently."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/29/2018