Photo of a DC metro bus
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

There’s been a lot of talk about our transit system lately—from the shutdown of multiple metro stations to the tasing and arrest of a Metro rider in June.However, there are more untold stories that we don’t hear about, and this is one that I would like to share. 

During the winter, I was riding my neighborhood bus line, 70, south to Archives, when the bus driver made an announcement: “If you are a known fare evader, I will not stop for you”. 

He was a little guy with a big mouth. I thought out loud, “What was the purpose of that announcement?” 

The guy that was sitting across from me said that the driver was talking about homeless people. I thought the same. 

The 70 bus line is one of the city’s longest, and it is among the lines most frequently used by the homeless. It was the bus I rode when I wanted to get some rest when I was homeless. 

Then, the man told me how Metro Transit Police would be waiting at the Silver Spring Metro station, the end of the bus route, at 2:00 a.m. to make sure that the bus’s remaining passengers paid the $2.00 fare back to D.C. If they don’t pay, they don’t ride. 

At that time of day, most of the bus’s passengers are homeless. I know that Metro transit police have a job to do, but some things can be overlooked.

Everyone may not have $2.00 at the time. Have a heart, Metro Transit Police.

A WMATA representative denied that this is a standard policy or practice, saying “While we are unable to speak to this specific comment regarding something a bus operator allegedly said months ago, we can tell you that Metrobus operators are instructed to service all bus stops and serve all customers. If a customer has an experience that does not meet these standards, we want to hear from them so that we can take immediate corrective action.”


Eric Thompson-Bey is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media.