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Metro Announces Online SmarTrip Reloading

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 09/22/11 03:13 PM ET Updated: 11/22/11 05:12 AM ET

Dc Metro Station

WASHINGTON -- After years of customers asking for it, Metro is finally delivering on its promise to introduce online reloading of its SmarTrip payment fare cards for the rail and bus system. A pilot project started this summer. The transit agency released the following statement on what's in store:

Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles today announced the launch of a feature customers have requested for years: the ability to add value to a SmarTrip card from the convenience of their computer.

"Customers can now go online rather than getting in line," said Sarles. "This is the latest—but certainly not the last—example of how we are going to use technology to improve our customers' travel experience."

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 today 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 Metro's website, 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. Customers should allow up to one business day for value to be transferred to their card when touching a rail faregate or vending machine and up to three business days at a 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 allow customers to load value on their card automatically whenever their balance drops below a specified amount.

Customers with questions about the new online reload feature can contact the SmarTrip Regional Customer Service Center at 1-888-762-7874.

Flickr photo by Casey

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