Originally Posted by registerthis
You know, I commented to my wife the other day that i have no idea how people who aren't from DC navigate their way around it by car. By foot or subway it's a breeze, but the diagonal streets, traffic circles, and "disappearing" streets make driving around central D.C. a confusing mess. I get tripped up driving around all the time, and I have a reasonably good idea where I'm going and how best to get there.
That's another issue altogether. I wish the local government and trasit authorities would focus on this--problem is DC's Metro is terribly underfunded, and the fare system is based on distance traveled. it's not a flat rate like most other major cities. I wholeheartedly agree that parking at Metro stations should be free...they currently charge $4/day to park there, and when you add that to a $4-$6 round trip train ride, you're talking about $10 for what is for most people an inconvenience. No wonder people choose to drive.
I haven't been there in ages, so I don't know what kind of programs they have now, but when I was in Chicago I was able to get in on a pilot program with the CTA where they gave me a credit card-like pass which I could just wave in front of sensors to go through the turnstiles. I would also get a discount of $.25 of each trip loading it up online. There was also a program where your employer could arrange to have your fares deducted, I think it was pre-tax, directly from your paycheck. Again you got bonus credits on your fare card for enrolling. While I don't necessarily miss the crazy street preachers would would occasionally try to cast Satan out of my train car or the homeless guys who would smell bad enough to cause everyone to smash themselves into one half of the car, I really miss being able to read a paper or a novel on my way into work in the morning. Much more relaxing than driving, IMO.
The whole distance-based fares idea stinks if your goal is to get more people to actually use the public transporation.