My wife had a fun thing happen recently: All the ticket kiosks decided they wouldn’t accept credit cards just as she was trying to board the A Line at Union Station to catch a flight.
RTD’s security guards informed the growing and agitated crowd that there would be no mercy, my wife-source informs me. They told everyone that they’d have to either find some cash or download RTD’s new app.
“Wtf is going on like what a problem to haben (sic),” she texted me. Since her phone refused to download the app for some reason, the security officers directed her to an out-of-network ATM, where she got a $20 bill — and also a $3.50 ATM fee and a fistful of coins from the ticket kiosk.
How could this haben, indeed?
This is RTD’s policy.
Our rider felt like RTD’s glitch had cost her time and money — why didn’t they just let her on for free?
Scott Reed, a spokesman for RTD, confirmed that “there was a problem with the credit card readers” for a couple of hours on Thursday.
And if security officers are aware of a problem with ticketing machines, they are indeed supposed to tell people to try other methods of payment. However, if “the person does not have other resources, they are allowed to ride the system.”
So, if she had pressed her case, theoretically she should have been allowed aboard — — although, again, she says the guards told people they had to pay. But if she had gotten aboard and been caught without a ticket, she could have contested the warning, per RTD policy.
“If the (transportation security officers) are not made aware of downed machines, as in this instance, they initially treat the issue as non-payment of fare. If the individual is given a warning, and it is later found that the machine was indeed down, we will void the warning,” Reed wrote to me.
He also offered to provide some free tickets to my source, which I declined for some journalistic reason — although I am blogging about my marital partner’s transit complaints, so maybe that train has sailed.
The moral of the story:
RTD policy says that if the machines are being a true pain, you should be allowed on the train without a ticket.