For immediate release: September 6, 2018

Metro considers expanding cash-free boarding on limited-stop routes, seeks public input

Metro is working to provide faster, better bus service by going cash-free on selected limited-stop MetroExtra routes and is seeking feedback from the public before implementing the change.

Passenger boarding and fare payment can take up to 25 percent of a bus route's travel time. Research shows that cash payments take significantly longer than SmarTrip® taps, and takes even longer when customers add value to a SmarTrip card at the farebox. These transactions cause the bus to hold longer at the bus stop, resulting in a longer trip for all riders.

On designated cash-free routes, customers pay fare with a pre-loaded SmarTrip® card only. Cash and coins are not accepted and customers cannot add value to their SmarTrip card at the farebox. This makes boarding quicker because customers simply tap their card and board, instead of conducting more time-consuming transactions.

Metro is currently conducting a cash-free pilot program on a single route, the 79 MetroExtra along Georgia Ave/7th Street NW. The six-month pilot project runs through December 2018.

Metro is considering going cash-free on the following limited-stop routes: 16Y, 37, 39, 59, A9, G9, J4, K9, S9, X9, REX, and Metroway, as well as future new limited-stop routes. All of these routes are also served by local bus routes, all of which would continue to accept cash.

Metro welcomes customers to provide input on the proposal to make limited-stop bus service cash-free. Comments may be provided online or in person, by 9 a.m., Monday, September 24, 2018:

  • Complete an online survey and provide written comments 
  • Attend an open house at 6:30 p.m. and public hearing starting at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, September 17, 2018, at the following location:
    Metro Headquarters
    600 5th Street NW
    Washington, DC 20001

*Speaker registration is on-site only and will close after the last speaker.


Testimony may be submitted online through a survey at through Monday, September 24, 2018, at 9 a.m. Respondents may also submit freeform comments through the survey. This option is in addition to your ability to speak at the public hearing. For those without access to computers or internet, testimony may also be mailed to the Office of the Secretary, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 600 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. All comments must be received by the Office of the Secretary by 9 a.m. on Monday, September 24, 2018, to be included in the public record.


The docket and supporting documents can be found online at In addition, information will be provided in Metrorail stations, on Metrobus vehicles, and at area libraries.

For those without access to computers or internet, note that copies of the docket in its entirety can be requested from Metro's Office of the Secretary by calling 202-962-2511.

Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, gender, religion, disability or family status. Persons who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or persons who require translation services (free of charge) should contact the project team at 202-962-2511 or TTY: 202-962-2033 at least 48 hours prior to the public hearing date.

Please note that all statements are releasable to the public upon request, and may be posted on WMATA's website, without change, including any personal information provided.

Comments will be provided to the Metro Board of Directors for final review and approval in November 2018. In accordance with Federal Transit Administration guidance, Metro would conduct additional public outreach and a Title VI analysis prior to any permanent removal of cash as a fare payment option.