PARP and Privacy Policy Frequently Asked Questions


How do I submit a request for WMATA records?

A records request must be made in writing (by letter or e-mail). While no special forms are required, it is important to note that you are submitting a records request and to include your name, mailing address, and, preferably, email address and telephone number. It is also imperative to provide a specific description of records being sought so that WMATA can process the request efficiently. Back To Top

How do I obtain copies of SmarTrip® records?

If your SmarTrip® card is registered, you can access recent card transactions ( i.e., those generated within the previous 26 months) by logging into your online account.

WMATA strongly encourages you to register your SmarTrip® card to protect your account balance and personal privacy because anyone can obtain records pertaining to an unregistered card by submitting a records request.

If you are seeking SmarTrip® card records that are more than 12 months old, you will need to submit a records request and, if your SmarTrip® card is registered, you also will need to take one of the following steps to verify your identity pursuant to WMATA's Privacy Policy:

  • Provide a signed notarized statement authorizing the release of your SmarTrip® card records; *or*

Schedule an appointment to appear in person at WMATA's D.C. headquarters and provide a government-issued photo ID.

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May I request another person’s registered SmarTrip® records?

Generally, WMATA will not release records pertaining to another person’s registered SmarTrip® card unless it receives one of the following forms of authorization:

  • A valid court order;
  • A valid, properly-served, judge-signed or a magistrate-signed subpoena; *or*
  • A statement signed by the head of a law enforcement agency explaining the law enforcement purpose for the request.

    Please note that subpoenas signed by clerks of court, attorneys, or stamped with a judge’s seal, are insufficient documentation to release records subject to the Privacy Policy.  This additional information is necessary to protect the privacy of individuals whose records are maintained by WMATA in one or more Systems of Records.
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May I request non-SmarTrip® records containing the personal information of another individual?

Generally, WMATA will not release the personal information to a third party unless it receives one of the following forms of authorization:

  • A signed, notarized statement from the subject of the records request authorizing the release of personal information to the requester;
  • A valid court order;
  • A valid, properly-served, judge-signed or magistrate-signed subpoena; *or*
  • A statement signed by the head of a law enforcement agency explaining the law enforcement purpose for the request.

This additional information is necessary to protect the privacy of individuals whose records are maintained by WMATA in one or more Systems of Records.

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How long will it take to get a response to my records request?

WMATA generally aims to respond to routine PARP requests within 20 working days and complex PARP requests within 30 working days.

WMATA generally aims to respond to Privacy requests within 40 working days.

Requests are generally processed in the order of receipt.  However, the time it takes to respond to a particular request will vary based on the type of records requested.

  • For example, requests that require liaising with multiple offices/departments within WMATA, consulting with parties outside WMATA, or dealing with other technical constraints will typically take more than 30 working days to process.  Examples of such requests include:
    • Contract records;
    • Audio-video records;
    • Architectural diagrams and planning records; and
    • E-mail or other electronic communications.
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Will there be fees associated with my records request?

Generally, you will be required to pay the fees associated with the processing and duplication of records requested under the PARP.  For records covered by WMATA’s Privacy Policy, you will only be charged for the cost of duplication.

If fees are estimated to exceed $250.00, you will be required to remit payment before we will begin processing your request.

You may qualify for a fee waiver for records requested under the PARP if you demonstrate that:

  • you are member of the news media, or an educational or noncommercial scientific institution, and that you are seeking records for a noncommercial purpose; or
  • you are seeking records that are of general public interest; and are not of primarily intended to advance your own commercial interest.
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Will I receive everything that I request?

Not always, for the following reasons:

  • Any records retrieved in response to your request will be redacted for exempt information, such as:
    • information that could compromise WMATA’s infrastructure or security
    • information that is exempt by statute
    • attorney-client privileged communications
    • information that, if released, would cause a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy
    • certain SmarTrip® and law enforcement investigation information
  • WMATA is only authorized to provide records that are retrievable through a reasonably calculated search.  Therefore, if your records request is deemed unduly burdensome, you will be asked to narrow it and, if you decline to do so, your request will be denied. 
  • The PARP only applies to records in existence at the time WMATA begins the search for records.  The PARP does not require WMATA to create records.
  • WMATA destroys records in accordance with its records retention schedules.  Therefore, records may have been destroyed before receipt of a request.
  • While the PARP and the Privacy Policy offer means of accessing WMATA records, neither is a vehicle for simply answering questions, or providing opinions, about WMATA’s operations. 
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What if I have further questions?

Please refer to the PARP and the Privacy Policy. For questions outside the scope of those policies, please contact the appropriate WMATA office.

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