For answers to questions about SmarTrip®, please see our SmarTrip® Questions & Answers.
SmartBenefits® is a convenient Web-based program that lets employers assign the dollar value of employees' monthly commuting benefit directly to the employees' SmarTrip® cards. This can be done right from your computer using our website. With SmartBenefits®, you'll immediately eliminate the need to distribute vouchers and debit cards.
Van pool operators, van pool passengers, MetroAccess, MTA Commuter Bus, independent bus systems, MARC and VRE riders can allocate transit benefits to electronic SmartBenefits®.
SmartBenefits® offers SmartBenefits® passenger allocation for customers whose transit providers do not accept SmarTrip® cards. VRE, MARC Rail, MTA Commuter Bus, MetroAccess, Vanpools and other independent bus systems have a program with Metro and CommuterDirect.com to mail VRE & MARC Rail tickets to SmartBenefits® employee participants. To participate in this program, apply for a new SmartBenefits® passenger allocation account.
Your employer must complete the online SmartBenefits® application. After, the employer submits the application, we will return the appropriate forms to the employer for signature approval based on the payment information provided. Upon receipt of the signed forms, your employer will be assigned a customer account number, user ID, and password.
Employers can attend a free SmartBenefits® employer seminar at Metro Headquarters, 600 5th Street, NW, Washington, DC, and learn all about SmartBenefits® and how to administer the transit benefit over the Internet. For more information, call 202-962-1326 and select option 3, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ask your employer if your company offers SmartBenefits®. If your employer does, someone in your benefits department should be able to explain how the program works. You can also learn more by visiting the SmartBenefits® website at www.wmata.com.
First, you must provide your employer with the serial number located on the back of your SmarTrip® card. Second, be sure to write down your number printed on the back of your SmarTrip® card.
The Senior SmarTrip® and Person with Disabilities SmarTrip® cards are specially encoded to automatically deduct the reduced fare each time you use a SmarTrip® card.
Note: If you currently have a Reduced Fare SmarTrip® card, you should not purchase the Senior SmarTrip® card unless your card is lost, stolen or damaged.
At the beginning of each month, just present your registered card to a bus farebox, rail faregate or Metro parking target to pay your fare/fee as you normally would and your monthly benefits will be activated. This is referred to as Autoload – you don’t need to do anything special. If you are commuting regionally, Autoload works on Metrorail, Metrobus and the following bus systems:
NOTE: MTA bus and rail systems, as well as the following commuter buses (Dillon’s, Eyre, Martz/Gold Line, Atlantic Coast and Keller) ARE NOT supported by Autoload, therefore you will need to use the SmartBenefits® Passenger Allocation system and follow MTA instructions.
Bus and Rail riders - Just tap your card to the SmarTrip® target and your fare will be processed and reflected in the display window on the bus farebox and as you exit the Metrorail system. Once you exhaust your transit benefits, fares will be deducted from the stored value purse. Each month your benefits will be available in your account that is associated with your SmarTrip® card.
Some transit service providers need time to process your order and have it delivered to you before the beginning of the month.
The funds allocated to your service provider are based on your allocation setting and the remaining benefits in your account. The following cases might cause the service provider to not receive the allocated amount:
No. You are not required to tap your card when allocating ALL of your transit benefits to a particular van pool service or transit provider. However, we recommend that you tap your card to a target from time to time ensuring that the latest software is loaded. You can tap it to the target at the Farecards and Passes machine in any Metrorail station. After tapping the card to the target, select the CANCEL button to close out the transaction.
No. You no longer load your SmartBenefits® onto your SmarTrip® card at a Farecards and Passes machine as a SmartBenefits® Autoload participant.
The value will remain on your card in the personal stored value purse. Stored value funds can be used to pay for transit or Metro parking.
You can view balance for:
Note: If a portion of your transit fare or parking fee comes from your personal stored value purse because of insufficient funds in your transit or parking purses, the amount displayed when commuting will be the balance from your personal stored value purse and not your transit or parking purse.
If you regularly ride Metrorail, Metrobus or any of the regional bus systems, your card will be properly prepared to accept the changes as long as the card is used at least two days before the end of the benefit month at your normal rail stations, bus system or parking lot.
To accommodate enhanced SmarTrip® applications, Metro has introduced a new 20-digit serial number. When enrolling new employees, the SmartBenefits® system online will take up to 20-digits. Please identify card type in below examples and use serial numbers in the corresponding brackets without spaces.
To register your SmarTrip® card online, you'll need to create a SmarTrip® account.
Customers should allow at least 24-hours for their card to appear as registered in the SmartBenefits® system.
The SmartBenefits® program is an employer sponsored program with specific commuter IRS requirements. SmarTrip® customer service will not be able to reassign your transit or parking benefits to a replacement card. Please contact your employer for reassigning benefits to your replacement card. SmarTrip® customer service will handle processing any value that was in your personal stored value purse.
To be compliant with Revenue Ruling 2006-57, 2006-2 C.B. 911. It provides guidance to employers on the use of smartcards, debit or credit cards, or other electronic media to provide qualified transportation fringes under Internal Revenue Code §§ 132(a)(5) and 132(f). The separate stored value, transit and parking purses restrict comingling or transfer of funds.
Employers determine the treatment of unused monthly benefits as either "Rollover" or "Non-Rollover". Rollover allows unused benefits to accumulate in the associated SmarTrip® account of the employee. For Non-rollover accounts, unused monthly benefits are credited back to the employer.
SmartBenefits® Passenger Allocation employee participants that do not use all of their transit funds on their SmarTrip® card for the current month, should allow at least 4 days for the new non-allocated monthly amount to be available for them to access on their SmarTrip® card. The best way to avoid this delay in benefit availability is to make sure that the employee depletes the entire amount several days before the end of the month. Passenger Allocation value is a use-based benefit and operates under different rules on the SmarTrip® card.
If your employer allows rollover for unused benefits, a maximum of $4,045 for transit and $4,045 for parking is permitted. The rollover option is generally designated for pretax payroll employee participants. The treatment of unused benefits is subject to employer approval. The stored value purse on SmarTrip® holds $300 and the CharmCard® holds $200.
The following are some additional key points pertaining to the restricted transit and parking purses:
To pay for parking you will only be allowed to use parking benefits or personal stored value funds. Transit benefits cannot be used to pay for parking.
No. Only employers can designate value to the restricted parking or transit benefits purse. If you need additional funds to pay for parking or transit, you can add value to the stored value purse onboard the bus or in any Metrorail station at the Farecards and Passes machine.
No, funds cannot be transferred between the transit, parking or stored value purses.
This feature isn’t currently available, but we’re working on it.
No, you will need a separate SmarTrip® card for each employer that is providing you with SmartBenefits®.
Any unused transit benefits in a Non-rollover account will be credited back to your employers. If you have accumulated funds in your Rollover account, you can continue to use those funds until they are exhausted. In addition, you’ll be able to use any funds remaining in the stored value purse.
MTA CharmCard® is a smart fare card. The CharmCard® is accepted on any SmarTrip® reader. Metrobus and rail, all Washington DC bus systems including ART, CUE, DASH, DC Circulator, Fairfax Connector, PRTC OmniRide, Ride On, The Bus and the Baltimore Metro Subway, local bus and light rail. You can use the SmartBenefits® Autoload on these cards; however you need to keep in mind that the SmartBenefits® Autoload with the separate purse system WILL NOT work on the Baltimore Metro subway, local bus and light rail systems. Fares will be paid out of the stored value purse.