Reduced Price SmarTrip Cards Easy to Scam

The plan to slash prices for riders may be put on hold

By Jennifer Doren
|  Friday, Sep 17, 2010  |  Updated 8:00 PM EDT
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Reduced Price SmarTrip Cards Easy to Scam

nbcwashington.com

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Metro's plan to cut the price of SmarTrip cards in half to boost ridership may have hit a snag.

Officials worry riders will scam the system, cheating Metro out of millions, The Washington Post reported. That’s because the cards let customers exit stations with a negative balance. If riders bought a card for $2.50 instead of $5, they could use it for a trip that costs more and ditch the card. 

Rail trips can cost as much as $5.20. Bus trips can run as high as $6. Metro officials are estimating the lost of revenue from customers “gaming the system” could push $1 million every month.
 
The potential problems don’t end there. The manufacturer of SmarTrip cards is halting production and Metro only has a two-year supply.
 
Metro’s Board of Directors asked staffers to come up with solutions Thursday before moving forward with cost reductions.

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