Photo by velobry on Flickr.

We know that broken Metrobus fareboxes cost WMATA significant revenue. But how big is the problem? If you ride the bus, please help by reporting whether your bus farebox is working on your next few trips.

Unfortunately, hard data on the rate of fareboxes being broken isn’t easily available even to Metro. Knowing the scope of this problem could help with the tough budget WMATA and the local jurisdictions face this year.

You can help gauge the farebox rate by bookmarking this link on a data-enabled mobile device or type in bit.ly/farebox. When you get on a bus, just visit the page and fill in whether the farebox works or not.

If you do participate, please report both working and nonworking fareboxes. It won’t help at all to overestimate the broken rate. The purpose of this isn’t to collect a lot of complaints, but to get as accurate an estimate as possible.

Local jurisdictions are likely to push back at WMATA’s request for $72.5 million in added jurisdictional contributions, which could put bus and rail headways, late-night service, the Yellow Line to Fort Totten, and more on the chopping block. If recovering some bus revenue could fill some of the budget hole, it’ll make it a lot easier to pass another budget without service cuts.

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.