City Desk

The Needle: Korean Subway Edition

SmarTrip Getting Smarter?: It wasn't so long ago that the only way to pay for a Metro ride was to buy a paper farecard, and the only way to pay for a single bus trip was to shove your coins into the farebox on board. But even though Metro only recently upgraded its payment options with things like online refills of a SmarTrip card, officials are now looking at what kind of long-term changes they might make to the fare setup. Options included new integrated monthly passes, zoned fares, and a flat fare for the entire subway system. No sign that they'll be bringing back tokens, though. +1

Next Stop, Seoul: Speaking of Metro, some people going to the agency's website today to look up information about payment systems may have been a bit confused. Due to a mysterious glitch, it defaulted to Korean for several hours this morning. The usual English version of the site was available, but you had to look for it; the Korean version, meanwhile, is now back at its normal home, ko.wmata.com. As they say in Korean, "dadneun mun." -1

More Pot Papers Pending: Anyone who hasn't come up with a Halloween costume yet now has another option—go as a District-licensed medical marijuana vendor! The city will accept applications for licenses for the five legal pot dispensaries until Oct. 31. Officials already pre-approved about 60 applicants last month. The District will also license 10 cultivation centers, also known as "pot farms." +3

Rain, Rain, Go Away: When it pours here, there's a decent chance the resulting inundation will flood the city's combined sewer system, mixing waste with runoff and generally making things bad for the Potomac and Anacostia rivers and the Chesapeake, into which they drain. D.C. Water is hoping to change that—with a massive, $2.6 billion tunnel project set to open in 2018. Ground broke on the work today. How will it be paid for, you ask? See your next (more expensive) water bill for the answer. +1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 62 Today's score: +4 Today's Needle rating: 66

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