Residents of D.C. could soon be applying for monthly Metro SmarTrip cards worth $100, after the D.C. Council Transportation Committee unanimously supported the proposal on Monday in a preliminary vote.
While the proposal still needs to work its way through the rest of the council before reaching final approval, the vote signifies that an agreement could be reached by the end of the year. If approved, residents will be able to apply for a SmarTrip card that would be reloaded with the balance every month.
This is a progression of Metro for DC, a bill originally introduced by Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6). He proposed two significant measures: the $100 per month and a fund dedicated to improving bus services.
With the fund, “millions” of dollars will go toward bus infrastructure “by creating new bus routes, reducing time between buses, building more dedicated bus lanes, and other improvements to make buses work better,” according to the website.
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The bill also aims to encourage more people to use public transportation in D.C., as well as help essential workers in affording transportation costs.
“Millions each year into new Transit Equity Fund to improve service & reliability for riders in under-invested neighborhoods,” Allen said in a tweet Monday.
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Allen originally introduced the bill in March 2020, but it was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. He reintroduced it in Oct. 2021 and it is making its way through the legislative process.
The bill proposes that residents must apply for the fare card and that cards would be tracked in order to prevent them from being sold to those who live outside D.C.
The District would still have to officiate the terms of the deal with Metro officials before reaching final approval.