City Desk

Metro Boss Wants to Make SmarTrips Obsolete

Metro General Manager Richard Sarles is working on a plan to phase out SmarTrip cards, according to WTOP.

Instead of using SmarTrip cards, Sarles told audience members at George Washington University yesterday, passengers would pay directly at turnstiles with their phones or credit cards.

"The key thing is you would no longer have to stop at a fare vending machine," Sarles said. He wants to introduce a pilot program for the phone and credit card payments in a few months.

Update, 11:30 a.m.: While WTOP describes Sarles' plan as one to "phase out" the card, Metro says the SmarTrip will remain as part of the system.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • Tom

    I'll believe it when I see it ... in 2020.

  • Art

    Sounds like trouble. Cant imagine rush hour crowds and people having payment issues at the turnstile.

  • Kevin

    If it ain't broke...

  • SW

    The Metro is one huge, ugly reason we will never get rid of the negative comparisons to New York. Our subway system is crap for both locals and tourists.

  • bobby duvall

    if u ever move to a city or area that doesn't have a subway......you will miss it. I moved to an area that doesn't have mass transit and I just miss it everyday. if you don't have a car you don't get around.
    I go to Pittsburgh just to be around public transportation and museums.

  • Erika

    I'm not sure that I agree, SW. I think the NY Subway is only better than Metro in that there are so many more stops you can take to just about anywhere in the city and it runs longer hours. However, Metro is way cleaner, much nicer, and easier to navigate.

  • Bob

    So the long lines that develop at the fare card machines will now develop directly at the turnstiles? Good planning.

  • MB

    This is ridiculous idea.
    What's wrong with the current system? Is stopping to reload your Metro card when it's low that big a deal whether online, at a station, or turnstile?
    Now I have to worry that someone's credit card isn't going to work or listen to someone complain because Metro doesn't accept Discover cards? Not to mention my credit card statement is going to be riddled with Metro charges all month. Who are the geniuses running this show?

  • J

    US is 10 years behind in technology from Japan. This is already being done in Japan and parts of Europe.

  • KF

    I'd be pretty down for a Smart Trip phone app. Or something similar to Mobile Money for Smart Benefits. However, I don't want those teeny tiny charges to my credit card or debit account.

  • Typical DC BS

    Would be A LOT better to make it possible to load up your Smartrip card on-line or by phone, thereby saving all of us the time & effort of having to stop at their machines.

  • noodlez

    @TYP-YOU THINK???

    WDC IS NOT JAPAN AND/OR EUROPE.
    HOW ABOUT ONLY DESIGNATED LANES FOR THOSE FOLK AS TO NOT HOLD UP THE MASS INGRESS AND EGRESS WHICH SOMETIMES OCCURS WHEN FARECARD USERS ATTEMPT TO SHORTCHANGE METRO!

    THIS WACKADOODLENESS AT ITS BEST!

  • 20011

    The last fucking organization on earth I'd want to give direct access to my bank account is WMATA.

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