Wednesday, July 21, 2004

COMMUTING: WMATA Running Out of SmarTrip Cards

Tourists who are buying a $10 SmarTrip card for single uses at suburban metrorail stations are partially to blame for higher than expected sales of the automatic payment cards that were made mandatory at garages after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority discovered parking attendants were stealing money from parking gates. The cards are such a hot commodity that the transit agency is running out of them.

From The Associated Press (via WTOP):
Metro chalked up the drastic increase in large part to the elimination of cashiers at its parking facilities. SmarTrip cards have been required there since June 28. Along with the regular commuters who have bought SmarTrip cards, numerous tourists using station lots and garages have found themselves forking over $10 for a card with $5 good for transit fare or parking fees. The other $5 is a fee for the card.

In the meantime, WMATA has suspended online sales of the cards and all SmarTrip promotions before more cards can be acquired.

"Shortage of SmarTrip Cards Could Create Problem for Metro Riders" [AP via WTOP]


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