Metro begins phasing out older SmarTrip cards as part of upgrades to faregates and fare payment technology
Metro’s original SmarTrip® cards will soon become a relic of the past, as Metro invests in new faregates, fareboxes and fare payment options that will make it quicker and easier to pay but won’t be compatible with the old cards. Customers are encouraged to replace their old SmarTrip cards now to avoid issues later.
The first generation SmarTrip cards contain outdated chip technology and were produced prior to 2012. Metro is phasing out use of the cards in conjunction with the year-long rollout of new faregates in stations starting as early as June and new bus fareboxes next year. As many as 400,000 of the old cards were in active use prior to the pandemic, affecting a small percentage of the six million SmarTrip cards that were in active circulation at the time.
Metro is offering customers several convenient options, including mail-in, online, phone or in-person, to make the switch and transfer any balance to a new or existing SmarTrip card or virtual SmarTrip card on a mobile device. The best way to tell if you need to replace your card is to check the serial number on the back. All newer SmarTrip cards start with the serial number “0167,” any others will need to be replaced.
Customers that participate in SmartBenefits are currently unable to transfer balances to a new card online and will be notified at a later date. Participants should login to their SmarTrip account to make sure their contact information is up to date.
The first-generation SmarTrip cards will be phased out by station, as new faregates are installed. The first stations are scheduled to begin installation no earlier than June with all stations completed over the following year. While this gives customers time, Metro is making customers aware of the change to ensure they are able to make the switch to a new card now whether currently using the system or upon their return as pandemic restrictions are lifted, customers return to school and work and businesses reopen with increased capacity throughout the region.
Additional information and instructions on how to transfer your balance to a new or existing SmarTrip card can be found at wmata.com/cardreplacement.