WASHINGTON (WJLA) - A viewer complaint to ABC7's Watchdog unit asked us to investigate illegal parking by WMATA employes at the Anacostia Metro Station's parking garage.
The viewer claimed while she was ticketed for her meter running out, Metro employees were being allowed to cheat the system.
The small parking lot adjacent to the Anacostia Metro parking lot garage is popular with Metro employees. It allows for up to 12 hours of metered parking, but many Metro employees aren't paying - the meters all read "expired."
ABC7 made multiple visits, seeing many of the same cars parked for free.
According to the "Metro Employee Parking Policy - Reminder" memo sent to all employees last January and obtained by ABC7 News, "Metro employes must pay the Board-approved parking fees to park personal vehicles at Metrorail stations and Metro parking facilities."
But what about the parking passes, vests and even a police patch seen on the dash boards of more than a dozen vehicles parked at expired meters?
Employees were told, in writing, those items "do not relieve an employee of the responsibility to pay parking fees and parking meter charges."
"I work for Metro and I don't think I should have to pay, period," says one Metro employee.
Some Metro customers disagree.
"They shouldn't be cheating the system," says John Joyce. "I have to pay just like anybody else. I'm a paying customer."
"I'm definitely paying to park," says Moses Muldrow. "They should pay to park."
In a statement to ABC7 News, WMATA spokesperson Dan Stessel says:
"This is an issue that comes up from time to time, and one that requires occasional reinforcement with employees... employees parking their personal vehicles must comply with all applicable parking fees and regulations. I have forwarded the complaint to MTPD who will step up patrols at Anacostia to resolve the issue."
The transit agency says it also received a complaint from a rider about the situation at the Anacostia parking garage and promised the Transit Police would step up patrols.
On ABC7's next visit, nearly every Metro employee's vehicle parked at an expired meter had a $25 citation on the windshield.