Starting Oct. 1st You can get a SmartTrip Card for $2 But You Can’t Exit Metro with a Negative Balance of $1.50 or more

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC


“The cost of a new SmarTrip card will drop to $2 on October 1, making the reusable, reloadable, more convenient fare payment option available to even more people. Riders purchasing a SmarTrip card at a Metrorail station vending machine or CVS store will still pay $10, but the card will come loaded with $8 in value rather than $5 today. Riders will be able purchase a card for $2 with no pre-loaded value at any Metro Sales Office or commuter store and selected Giant and Safeway stores.

To facilitate the lower price, effective October 1, riders will no longer be able to exit the Metrorail system with a negative balance of $1.50 or more. Anyone whose SmarTrip balance is lower than negative $1.50 will be directed to the Exitfare machines inside the station to add more value to the card. Exitfare machines accept cash only ($1, $5 and $10 bills); they do not accept debit or credit cards.

Metro has upgraded Exitfare machines at all stations to allow for SmarTrip transactions.

In advance of this change, Metro is encouraging all SmarTrip users to sign up for Auto Reload, the “set it and forget it” feature that automatically adds value to the card whenever the balance drops below $10. For more information, visit”

13 Comment

  • In advance of this change, Metro customers are encouraging Metro to just finally make Exitfare machines accept debit or credit cards.

  • “Exitfare machines accept cash only ($1, $5 and $10 bills); they do not accept debit or credit cards.”

    Why on earth won’t the exitfare machines accept debit/credit? That is going to cause a ruckus.

  • Luckily, I am adept at sneaking out of the metro when I haven’t been paying attention to my balance/have no cash to escape.

  • I may be out of it but I hadn’t heard about the Auto Reload option. It’s a great idea!

    • +100000 sick of people moaning about the exit fare machines not accepting credit or debit, Auto Reload is a great option!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I just have a personal policy that nothing is ever automatically debited from my bank account. Not my rent, not my bills, nothing. I keep a very tight eye on my finances and I just frankly don’t trust WMATA with automatic debiting access (technological glitches and what not.) That, and if my metro card goes missing or stolen, it could be a little bit before I recognize it’s been used and auto-reloading straight from my account. No auto load for me!

      • Put it on your CC. You can contest the charges if anything goes awry. That’s why we have credit cards – peace of mind.

        • Emmaleigh504

          I don’t trust metro, it’s that simple. Not with my credit card, not with my debit card, not to get me to work on time. fucking metro. I’m gonna go in the corner and cry now..

  • Wow. Incredibly annoying.

  • It would also help if the Exitfare machines took twenties — since that’s what many ATMs spit out. Since the Metro has a variable fare structure, payment options should, ideally, be as convenient as possible. Sometimes I miss tokens!

  • not reall yrelated but…. i still cant get over how they charge for the paper fair cards lol

    yes i use smart trips, and have been since high school, but still thats wild

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