Metro News Release

For immediate release: February 27, 2014

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SmartBenefits® can now be used for transit passes, Metro announces
Upgrade offers riders whose employers opt-in more options, savings

Starting March 1, Metro riders who work for participating employers will be able to buy unlimited transit passes with SmartBenefits pre-tax or tax-deferred funds, Metro announced today.

Previously, SmartBenefits funds were loaded onto a rider’s SmarTrip card and the value could only be used to ride Metro on a pay-per-trip basis.

“We heard from riders that they want to use their commuter benefits to purchase bus and rail passes too,” said Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles.  “Using unlimited passes may be a cost-saving option for some riders, because the more you ride, the more you save.”

For SmartBenefits® recipients that commute to work twice a day, five days a week and also use Metro on the weekends, using their SmartBenefits® to purchase Metro passes can provide cost savings.  For maximum convenience, customers can use Auto Reload to add passes to SmarTrip® cards on a recurring basis. 

Metro offers a variety of unlimited passes, including:

  • 7-Day Fast Pass ($57.50) - On a SmarTrip® card, this pass allows for seven consecutive days of unlimited Metrorail travel.
  • 7-Day Short Trip Pass ($35) - On a SmarTrip® card, this pass allows for seven consecutive days of unlimited Metrorail rides up to $3.50 when peak fares are in effect. There is no charge for rail trips at other times, such as middays and weekends. If you take a trip at rush hour valued at more than $3.50, you only pay the difference from your SmarTrip® value on the card.
  • 7-Day Regional Bus Pass ($16) - On a SmarTrip® card, this pass allows for seven consecutive days of unlimited bus travel on Metrobus and many other local carriers, such as ART, DASH, Ride On and TheBus.

In addition, commuters can choose monthly passes from other transit agencies in the region, including:

  • DASH Monthly Pass ($40)
  • MTA 30-Day Pass ($64)
  • Ride On Monthly Pass ($45)

The new option allows employers to assign some or all of their employees’ commuter benefits as “Transit Pass Benefits.”  Starting March 1, customers can purchase Metrobus and Metrorail passes in their online SmarTrip accounts with SmartBenefits® for the first time.

Riders are only able to purchase passes if their employer “opts in” to the program through Metro’s SmartBenefits online portal.  Currently, the federal transit benefit is capped at $130 per month.  Riders can add a credit card to their account to cover any balance in excess of $130 in a given month.

Metro conducted a successful pilot program in late 2013 prior to rolling out this option to all SmartBenefits participants.

For more information:

Transit Pass Benefit Overview (pdf)

Transit Pass Benefit Frequently Asked Questions (pdf)

Metro Pass Options



News release issued at 11:26 am, February 27, 2014.

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