increased efficiency or confusion

Metro announced the start of an “express lane” test program taking place at Anacostia (north mezzanine), New Carrollton, Vienna, Bethesda and Pentagon City Metrorail stations. At each of these stations, four of the nine or 10 faregates will be converted to accept only SmarTrip cards. The remaining faregates will accept both paper farecards and SmarTrip.

Metro selected the five test stations based on the percentage of riders that currently pay their fares with SmarTrip (approximately 80%). Metro esteimates that with SmarTrip-only aisles, 32 customers can pass through a faregate each minute, compared with the current 22-per minute rate.

I’m glad to see Metro seeking to increase throughput rates at the gates – my only hope is that the “express lanes” are clearly marked and more broadly advertised. Otherwise, you know you’ll end up behind the student tour group from some mid-western state whose members can’t figure out how to buy a fare card – let alone distinguish between the “regular” and “express” gates… In fact it may be bad enough with the way these changes are so slowly adopted by the local riders… Any news/reviews from the front lines?

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