Epic suck from the kiosk for the DC Metro. Photographing within a Metro station is probably illegal but I had to document what NOT to do when making a user interface. Click image for full size.
1. How do you begin your metro card purchase? At the giant, orange #1 in the middle, or the smaller #1 at top left. I guess it depends on if you actually want to know how much your trip costs, or just want to pay the default $20, which will overcharge you if you’re making a short couple of trips.
2. “Find Your One-Way Fare Below” lists 3 different fees depending on your destination and time of travel. “Regular” fares, which is actually just for early morning, evening and late weekends, “Peak-of-the-Peak”, which is rush hour, and “Reduced”, which is all other times. When is that exactly?
3. “One Day Passes” have at least FOUR different statements of qualifications, including two official looking ones that say the same thing, as well as a Post-It taped above the orange #1 and a letter-sized print out dangling between kiosks with crucial info crossed out and the exclamation “No EXCEPTIONS!!”. Gee, someone’s pissed that people don’t understand how One Day Passes work. How could people be so dumb?
4. Do I insert my cash into the slot labeled “Bill Return”? Huh?
5. Finally, the “Press + to add value” has to be experienced to be believed. After decoding your trip cost you then have to press plus and minus sign in both dollars and cents to enter the amount of your metro card, starting from $20. A numeric keypad would just be too confusing, I guess.
If you’re traveling with your family you have to go through this process for every single member of your party. And adding insult to confusion, if you get the math wrong and haven’t put enough money on the card you can’t get out of the station at your destination! In order to exit you have to run your card through again and if there’s not enough money on it you’re blocked, forcing you to find another, internal kiosk, and add money there. Or go to a Metro attendant, who I’m sure will be more than happy to assist you, along with the hundreds of other mystified visitors in this major US tourist destination.