(WJLA) - This Metro employee doesn’t have much to say moments after the ABC 7 Watchdog unit catches him on camera leaving his car and not paying for parking at the Shady Grove station – a violation of WMATA policy.
ABC7: “What makes you different than any of the riders?”
Metro employee: “Going back to work…Going to have to ask those questions of Metro media relations.”
And he isn’t the only one breaking the rules to cheat the system. Back in February, we exposed this lot at the Anacostia station, being used almost exclusively by Metro employees who weren’t paying to park. The Transit Police have cracked down on this since.
However, when we checked parking lots at 23 other metro stations in Maryland, Virginia, and the District, 19 had the tell-tale signs of WMATA cheaters: reflective vests on the dash, plenty of placards, a Metro baseball cap, and even a hard hat. And at each spot, there was an expired meter.
At Glenmont station, we found four placards or vests – two which appear to belong to D.C. Police officers – and their meters weren’t paid either.
At the New Carrollton garage, these cars all have Transit Police patches or signs on the dash, but not a single one had a valid meter.
Officer: "Please stop filming my vehicle."
ABC7: "You didn't pay for parking."
Officer: "I did not, I did not."
ABC7: "You're supposed to pay for parking."
Officer: "Maybe I am..."
A few minutes later, the officer moved his car.
At Minnesota Avenue, this Metro employee skipped the meters and parked just feet from where buses pick up riders. A Metro vest is on the dash and it is parked within sight of a Transit Police cruiser – but the driver does not get a ticket.
According to Metro Transit Police Deputy Chief Kevin Gaddis:
“All employees are required to pay for parking, no one is entitled to free parking. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, we've changed our policy a bit."
In an internal email sent to all WMATA employees and obtained by ABC 7, violators are warned that if cops spot Metro gear on the dash of an illegally parked car, officers will run the plates, identify the employee, and notify their supervisor “for follow-up action that may include discipline as warranted."
This is the email in its entirety, sent by MTPD’s Chief of Police, Ronald A. Pavlik, Jr.:
Despite recent enforcement efforts, some employees continue to violate established parking regulations at Metrorail stations and Metro parking facilities by parking vehicles at expired meters, “A” sections of Kiss and Ride lots, and other unauthorized parking spaces using safety vests, permits, RAIL division parking passes, handwritten notices, and employee identification in windshields. Effective immediately, vehicles observed in violation will be ticketed and license plate information will be processed with vehicle owner information forwarded to appropriate division management for follow up action that may include discipline as warranted. Please park only in designated areas and remember to pay at locations where required.
The four stations where we found no sign of violation include: Grosvenor-Strathmore, Huntington, College Park – U of Md, and Suitland.