Promised Metro SmarTrip Card Discount Won't Happen

Metro Could Lose a Million Dollars a Month If Riders Tried to Game the System

By Elaine Reyes
|  Thursday, Oct 21, 2010  |  Updated 4:21 PM EDT
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Promised Metro SmarTrip Card Discount Won't Happen

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Metro riders hoping for a price break on SmarTrip cards won’t see a discount any time soon. The transit agency discussed a reduction as an incentive and a way to ease the burden on customers after its largest fare increase in history.

The Metro Board's finance committee is now learning toward keeping the price at $ per card. At first the group suggested reducing the price of the cards to $2.50. However, this solution wouldn't benefit anyone who already owns a SmarTrip card.

Another problem? Members of the finance committee were originally told the cards cost a little more than a dollar to produce. But in reality, the company actually pays $3.40 per card.

Metro is also worried about a weakness riders could exploit. Someone could buy the card and not put any money on it, cheating the system because cardholders can currently exit stations while having a negative balance.

They estimate Metro could lose a million dollars a month under this scenario. Keeping the card at $5 would prevent this from happening, since the maximum rail fare is the same amount.

Board members tabled the issue for a later time. They are looking into other possibilities and will seek the public’s input before making a final decision.


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