QUANTICO, Va. — If the woman would have taken the free ticket maybe police wouldn’t have forced her from the train.
A conductor on Virginia Railway Express train #308 from Fredericksburg to Washington on Tuesday asked a woman for her ticket, so he could validate that she paid to ride.
But the woman became angry and told the man that the ticket machines at the station where she boarded were not working and then refused to show a ticket, said VRE spokesman Mark Roeber.
She became more confrontational when the conductor pressed her on the issue, telling her she couldn’t ride without one.
Engineers and VRE officials then decided to stop the commuter train at the Quantico station about 8 a.m., and then called police to remove her, said Roeber.
While they waited for officers to arrive, a man sitting near the woman offered her one of his free ride passes he obtained earlier, but she declined, maintaining the ticket machines should have been working.
Police showed up 30 minutes later and pulled the woman from the train.
She was not charged nor identified, said a police spokesman.
“This was an unfortunate and needless delay,” said Roeber.
VRE officials don’t know where the woman got on the train. A check of ticket machines at all of the Fredericksburg line stations following the incident showed they were working properly except for one.
A machine at the Fredericksburg station had a receipt still hanging in its dispenser, rending it unusable until someone simply pulled it out.
Someone buying a ticket earlier this morning could have forgotten to take their receipt, but that’s just speculation, officials say.
“That was most likely caused by human error,” said Roeber on the machine mystery.
With the woman now off the train, it continued on to the Rippon station in Woodbridge and ultimately to Washington, though it was 30 minutes behind schedule.
It’s not clear what happened to the woman.
“She could have simply validated her ticket at the Quantico station and boarded the next train to continue on her way,” said Roeber.