DEAR WMATA: Bus Driver Complaint
A bus driver accused me yesterday of trying to avoid paying full fare when I boarded the N4 bus at Massachusetts Avenue and 20th Street Northwest during the Thursday evening rush hour. The suspicion? He accused me of obtaining a subway-to-bus transfer ticket from Dupont Circle, not my point-of-entry, which was Union Sation. I told him to look at the ticket, which indeed read Union Sation. What follows is my complaint to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which I filed this morning.
Yesterday, after leaving the Red Line at Dupont Circle, I walked to the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and 20th Street Northwest to board a Friendship Heights-bound N4 bus (No. 4031). Since I was doing a subway-to-bus transfer, I had a paper transfer in hand, which I had obtained before boarding the Red Line at Union Station.
When I boarded the bus, I dug through my pockets to get the 35 cent transfer. After I found it, I put the change in the fare collector and since the driver didn’t take my transfer directly, I put it in the transfer bag myself, as many bus drivers throughout the Metrobus system are accustomed to passengers depositing their subway transfer tickets themselves. I then asked for a bus-to-bus transfer, as I was heading later up to the 30-series buses.
When I did that, the driver accused me of trying to evade system regulations, telling me that my transfer was not valid because I had not obtained it from my point of entry to the subway system. Essentially, he accused me of taking a subway-to-bus transfer from Dupont Circle, and told me I would have to put in $1.20 for a full fare.
I informed him that I knew the rules of the subway-to-bus transfer, and told him to check the subway transfer. He seemed disgruntled when he pulled it out and it read, as I told him it would, Union Station, not Dupont Circle. I asked for a bus-to-bus transfer for a second time, and begrudgedly, he complied with my request.
At major subway-bus transfer points — particularly the 30s at Foggy Bottom and the D2 at Dupont Circle — I have seen many bus drivers target younger riders and single them out to try to catch them not complying with subway-to-bus transfer procedures. I may be 24, but I don’t have to be treated like I’m some sort of scheming, conspiratorial rider taking advantage of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Please put this complaint in driver XXXX’s file.
"That Pesky Bus Transfer" [Oculus]