Morning peak-of-the-peak pricing takes effect on August 29
20-cent fee applies to Metrorail trips taken during busiest weekday hours
Metro will begin charging a peak-of-the-peak fee on August 29 for Metrorail trips taken between 7:30 and 9 a.m. weekdays, completing the phased implementation of peak-of-the-peak pricing.
A 20-cent peak-of-the-peak fee for trips taken between 4:30 and 6 p.m. weekdays has been in place since August 3. The fee is based on the starting time of a trip, or when a customer enters the fare gate at a Metrorail station.
Additional programming changes are being required to implement the reduction of the cost of a SmarTrip® card from $5 to $2.50 to encourage customers to take advantage of SmarTrip® savings and convenience.
In order to introduce the change, Metro must make technological upgrades to implement a new fare gate exit rule requiring SmarTrip® card users to have full fare value on their cards when they exit the Metrorail system. Those upgrades are expected to be complete by early fall, at which time the price of SmarTrip® cards will drop.
The new exit rule for SmarTrip® card users will mirror the current requirement that paper farecard users must have sufficient fare to exit the Metrorail system. SmarTrip® card users will no longer be able to exit the Metrorail system without sufficient fare when the rule is enacted later this fall.
Customers are encouraged to have sufficient fare for their trip on their cards when they enter the system, however, Metro is installing SmarTrip® targets on all Exitfare machines so customers will be able to add the necessary value to their SmarTrip® cards at the exit gates. Payment to add value at Exitfare machines is cash only.
Currently, about 75 percent of Metrorail riders and 60 percent of Metrobus riders use SmarTrip® cards. Metrorail riders who pay their fare with a SmarTrip® card instead of a paper farecard save 25 cents per trip. Metrobus riders who pay with a SmarTrip® card instead of cash save 20 cents per trip.
Customers who use SmarTrip® cards also receive a discount of 50 cents when transferring between Metrobus and Metrorail. Bus-to-bus transfers with a SmarTrip® card are valid for free, unlimited Metrobus connections within a two-hour period.
News release issued at 2:00 pm, August 25, 2010.