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 wmata.com/autoreload.”