Metro eliminates paper transfers on Sunday
Transfer discounts continue for SmarTrip® users only
Paper transfers will no longer be available for Metro riders starting Sunday, Jan. 4, and only SmarTrip® card users will be able to transfer free from one bus to another. At the same time, Metrobus riders will receive a bus-to-rail discount if they transfer using a SmartTrip® card. That discount will reduce Metrorail fares by 50¢.
The changes aim to encourage riders to use SmarTrip®, which saves them 10¢ on each Metrobus trip, eliminates the need for exact change on bus, speeds up boarding times to keep buses on schedule and speeds the flow of customer traffic through Metrorail faregates. After Jan. 3, Metrobuses will no longer issue or accept paper transfers. To get a transfer discount or to transfer free from bus-to-bus, riders will need a SmarTrip® card.
Under the new plan, SmarTrip® users will have an extra hour to take advantage of free bus-to-bus transfers as the transfer period extends from two hours to three hours. Also, riders paying with SmarTrip® will save 50¢ on their fares when transferring from either bus-to-rail or rail-to-bus.
In addition to doing away with the paper transfers that bus operators hand out, the transfer machines in Metrorail stations that dispense the rail-to-bus transfers will be removed as well. All transfer discounts, bus-to-bus, rail-to-bus and bus-to-rail, will be deducted electronically with SmarTrip®, no coins nor paper needed.
Eliminating paper transfers will save Metro about $300,000 a year for the cost of paper and printing, and the repair and maintenance of the transfer machines in stations. The move also is expected to minimize fraud and abuse of paper transfers by individuals who sell or give away their transfers to other riders, and reduce assaults on bus operators by riders who have disputes with operators about transfers.
Metro will continue to sell the weekly bus pass, 7-day short-trip rail pass and weekly rail pass.
To alert riders about the elimination of paper transfers, Metro launched an aggressive informational campaign in October that included English and Spanish-language advertising throughout the Metrobus and Metrorail system, and in local newspapers, widespread distribution of bilingual brochures, audio announcements on Metrobuses, audiocasts in seven languages and a special Web page with frequently asked questions and instructional video (http://www.wmata.com/fares/transfers.cfm). In addition, Metro reached out to regional stakeholders and area social service agencies, and offered free training to the agencies about how to use SmarTrip® cards and how to load value onto the cards.
SmarTrip® cards can be purchased on Metro’s Web site by mail, at Metro sales offices at Metro Center, the Pentagon, Anacostia and Metro headquarters, at the Northern, Western, Landover, Royal Street and Four Mile Run Metrobus divisions, vending machines at Metrorail stations that have parking facilities, regional transit stores and select Giant and CVS stores.
News release issued at 9:37 am, January 2, 2009.