SUCKS: So this afternoon, an un-named MR member and I decide to get together for a late lunch in Washington DC. I needed a break from the office and a chance to get out of the house, so today seemed like a perfect time. I pulled up to the METRO station in New Carollton, where I have been boarding the train into Washington for oh, say 28 years now. I park my car in the lot, get my farecard for the exact to and from fare and off I went. I would normally drive, but decided I didn't want to look for parking and coordinate the meet up with said MR member. On the way back to the station after eating, my dinner company informs me that I will need one of METRO's SmartTrip™ cards to get my card out of the lot. I confidently tell him that there were no signs to that effect and that I had parked my car in that lot for years. So I get back to New Carollton on my puke-stained and aroma-de-pee scented train, and the turnstyle will not accept my farecard when I try to exit the station. I go to the station manager, who is more than a little annoyed by my mere existence and he takes my card and tells me to go through. I tell him that the card still has value on it (I wasn't expecting to be coming back on off-peak), so he acts as if I am asking him to lay in front of a train to give me a one-dollar refund. I get out to my car, tuck my PowerBook in. buckle her up and head for the parking lot exit. I am promptly greeted by a litlle magnetic thing that I have to wave a SmartCard (which I will herein refer to as TardCard™) at to get out, so I back up my car, park it, and go to the station to buy a TardCard™. The little machine says $10.00 TardCard™ so I put my Visa in and it spits out this little credit card thingy with a microchip in it. Maximum parking fee for the day is $7.50, so I figure I'll be fine with $10.00. I get in the car again, pulll up to the magnetic thingy and it says "Negative Balance - Exit Denied." very confused by this, I go back to the station and ask the "I can't be bothered" station manager what to do. He says - "Oh yeah - see you have to buy the TardCard™ for $5.00, and that leaves $5.00 to get out of the lot with. The lot costs $7.50, so you need $2,50 on there. I pointed to a sign that said the parking was $3.50, and he said, oh, that's only if you pay for your fare on the train with the TardCard™ - since you paid for your train fare with a normal card, you have to pay the full $7.50 rate. So as I drove home, I pondered the recent rise in energy prices and my small effort to do my part and take public transportation. I paid $4.75 to get to and from central DC, and should have paid $3.50 to park my car. Instead, I had to pay $4.75 for my fare, $5.00 for a microchip card the government can now track my movements with and I will most likely never use in the next year and a premium of $7.50 to park my car in a lot that hod NO signage that said "Use of this lot requires TardCard™ purchase. Total trip cost: $17.25. next time I'll burn fossil fuel, pollute the air, use precious government road resources and take up space in an already congested city, thanks. DC has got to be the most retarded city on Earth. So glad we moved.