Reduced Price SmarTrip Cards Easy to Scam

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


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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