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I know a few years back many of these lockers were used by homeless folks for storage of their belongings. Is this perhaps an attempt to stop that?

This isn't going to help. I went through a one year ordeal to move an application through the "system," and only dogged persistence, and help from Chris Zimmerman, got me a locker.

The first locker already had a bike in it. Metro's controls were so much of a mess that a) they didn't know, and b) they couldn't track down the owner of the bike. They wanted me to just move the bike out of the locker, but when I pointed out that that would leave a key and a very pissed-off person out there somewhere, they found me another locker.

I have had the locker for two years. When it came time to renew it, I had to contact Metro, not the other way around. It is clear to me that they do not have accountability for the lockers. I believe the "system" for tracking which lockers are occupied is just a manila folder full of paper contracts at Metro headquarters (in the bottom of someone's drawer).

I think a large percentage of lockers are either empty, have abandoned bikes in them, or have active tenants who have not signed, nor paid for, a contract in years.

Just like many other things, Metro could extract much more revenue at current prices, if they could just get their act together. Remember when the parking lot attendants were stealing a large proportion of the cash taken in for parking? In spite of the fact that millions of businesses use systems to keep track of cash every day, Metro punished customers by raising rates and requiring Smart Card for payment.

Metro has no idea which lockers are occupied, and which aren't. They won't be able to raise the projected revenue, because they don't know when, and from whom, to collect it.

The upside for everyone else is that my locker will be available, come May. I'm not handing $200 over to that broken bureaucracy for anything.

Ride the Womble,

None of that surprises me in the slightest. I don't have anything to add, I just felt moved to say it.

And about the hope that "WMATA doesn't expects to give bargain service for what is no longer a bargain price". I suspect that's exactly what they expect. Or, rather, I doubt they've even considered "service" as part of the equation, and any question of making the service better (like, maybe bringing it all the way up to "competent") will just be uppity cyclists demanding special rights and treatment at the expense of everyone else.

I had the opposite happen to me last year: They didn't send me a renewal letter, and the week after my rental term was expired, they promptly changed the lock without telling me. This occurred even though my phone number is on the application. So I guess the cost to them of changing the lock is cheaper than a stamp or a phone call. We wonder why metro had funding problems!

First, let me apologize for not closing that italics tag at the end of my last comment. HTML fail.

Catherine - Maybe that was your old locker they wanted me to commandeer. If so, er ... sorry?

Jan - That doesn't surprise me a bit. On one hand, you think, "ooo - they forgot to charge me." On the other hand, you expose yourself to capricious actions like those they took. I was lucky to remember that my contract was due, and was jaded enough to know a renewal notice wasn't ever going to show up.

Heck - I sent them an address change, and put my new address on the contract, and they still sent the new contract to the old address.

I tell you what - if they let me sit down with the contract folder for a weekend, I'll download OpenOffice, make them a spreadsheet, and automate the whole process for them, FOR FREE.

We know what will really happen, though -- if they muster up enough motivation to care about it, they'll hire some Beltway Bandit to do millions of dollars of design work, have a cost overrun, abandon the project, and still end up with a folder full of paper contracts. Sigh.

...and it looks like my open italics tag is still messing with the comments. Sorry, everyone.

Oops. It looks like I mixed Jan's story into yours, Catherine. My bad. But yes, if they just raised their game to "competent," they'd retain/collect more of the revenues they need so badly.

Fixed the italics issue.

I'm not going to do it, but it would be simple enough to find out the cost of lockers at other systems.

I am not sure it's fully comparable, but the Bikestation membership costs about $100/year, plus a base fee of $20.

Charging much more than that for a nonheated facility doesn't seem reasonable.

Well, Minneapolis is $48 a year + a $40 refundable deposit, and, wonder of wonders, they seem to be able to keep track of which lockers are available, and where they are.

Does anyone know the history of locker prices. When were they set to $70? And what about car parking? It's now $55 a month, what was it when the first parking garages opened? You can see where I'm going with this.

Just received my renewal notice with the fee increase from $70 to $200. I've always thought $70 was rather cheap until I had to wait an entire year to hear back from Metro on availability. At this point it's cheaper and easier to drive to work

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