September 29, 2011

D.C. Metro launches online fare card reloading system

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) recently launched a technology feature enabling riders to add value to a SmarTrip card from the convenience of their computers.

The SmarTrip Online Reload feature makes it more convenient for riders to manage their SmarTrip card balances and avoid lines at fare machines. Metro officially launched the feature following a successful pilot program that included 150,000 customers.

Any customer with a registered SmarTrip card can load value simply by logging onto their SmarTrip account on smartrip.wmata.com, and clicking on the “add value” link. The system accepts all major credit cards.

Because SmarTrip fare value is stored on the card, rather than in a central computer, customers must complete their transaction by touching their card to a target, such as a Metrorail faregate, vending machine or bus farebox.

To use the online reload feature, customers must have a registered SmarTrip card and online account. The feature currently works only on SmarTripcards; the ability to add value to MTA CharmCard will be added at a later date.

A future upgrade will also allow customers to load value on their card automatically whenever their balance drops below a specified amount.

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