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holamiis t1_jeabu0p wrote

This right here. Only accepting cash has never made any sense to me


new_account_5009 t1_jeaenu6 wrote

It's due to historical momentum.

They were originally installed at a time when cash was more common (and Metro still used paper farecards), so they made sense back then.

After paper farecards were retired and Metro went to SmartTrip only, they were actually unnecessary for a brief period of time. Basically, Metro let people complete rides with small negative balances, so no need for an exit fare machine (e.g., if you enter the system with $4 on your card, but take a longer ride that costs $5, you could leave with a card balance of -$1 and just pay that dollar the next time you load up the card).

However, that was short lived. Metro no longer allows people to carry negative balances on their cards. In the example above, they would allow you to enter the system with $4 because that's enough to cover a shorter ride, but if you take a longer ride that costs $5, you have to use the exit fare machine requiring $1 in cash.

It's annoying for regular users, confusing for tourists, and Metro has to pay money maintaining these older machines at every station. Rather than upgrading the exit fare machines to accept credit cards, they should really just allow negative balances again. Sure, they'll miss out on a few bucks from people that allow their card to go negative and never refill it (mostly tourists), but they'll save much much more than that by not needing to maintain the old machines.


wwb_99 t1_jeareo2 wrote

> They were originally installed at a time when cash was more common (and Metro still used paper farecards), so they made sense back then.

They were installed at a point where you processed credit cards with a carbon paper swipe in general and the concept of electronically debited accounts was newfangled and required massive amounts of custom software.


sprint113 t1_jeb8phm wrote

Weren't the exit fare machines originally paper farecards only? Since the Smartrip cards could hold a negative balance.

Plus the negative balance was built into the $2 base cost of the card.


BPCGuy1845 t1_jebrc6x wrote

Correct. They are spending a couple million to avoid losing ten grand. And keep a couple of blokes employed.

I don’t know why they can’t just put one fare machine behind the gate and stencil “exit fare” on it.


toorigged2fail t1_jeac62c wrote

I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing it's because the average exit fare is less than the credit card fees


Cooking_with_MREs OP t1_jeacj8x wrote

Or they were put in when cash was much more common? *Shrug


holamiis t1_jeacpqx wrote

Thats my best guess especially considering how old the machines look


holamiis t1_jeacu78 wrote

I guess they cant force a minimum charge?