Fare System Modernization

Faregates with Doors

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As ridership continues to increase, Metro is making major infrastructure investments to improve and modernize the customer experience, including upgrading fare system technology - from our Metrorail faregates and exit fare machines to our Metrobus fareboxes.

We are replacing and upgrading all rail and bus payment systems over the next several years, as part of the Capital Improvement Program, providing customers with more options for contactless payment, faster transaction processing and improved customer reliability.

Faregates UpgradeIn summer 2021, Metro kicked off a yearlong project to replace all faregate payment cabinets across the Metrorail system with modernized units that include enhanced safety features, larger updated displays, and faster processing.

We also took action to decrease fare evasion. After testing modifications to our existing faregates, we are retrofitting all faregate doors to reduce fare evasion.

Metro made a multimillion dollar investment by upgrading and replacing all 1,200 Metrorail faregate cabinets across the 98 rail stations in our system. New technology enable customers to wave their SmarTrip® cards more quickly and enable gates to be entered in either direction when clear.

We're Taking Action.

We also heard your concerns about fare evasion and, over the next several months, we are installing higher, more secure faregates. Fare evasion accounts for approximately $40 million in estimated revenue loss each year and we are committed to minimizing that loss and investing those funds in the safety and reliability of our service.

In addition to our "Pay the Fare" warning campaign in fall 2022, we continue to advance numerous efforts to reduce non-payment, including communication, education, issuing citations, and faregate modification.

Pilot Program at Fort Totten Station

In spring 2023, Fort Totten was chosen as a testing pilot for multiple reasons, including its high rate of fare evasion and its ability to accommodate additional faregates without compromising the footprint of the station. A number of prototypes, including one ADA gate with swing gates, were tested. The resulting design was finalized in July.

Fort Totten pilot program

We've gotten a lot of interest from you about our faregate upgrades. Here are the stations with retrofitted faregates.

  • Fort Totten
  • Bethesda
  • Mt Vernon Sq
  • Congress Heights
  • Federal Center SW
  • Vienna
  • Addison Rd
  • Wheaton
  • Court House
  • Pentagon City
  • Capitol South
  • Metro Center
  • Union Station
  • Gallery Place / Chinatown
  • L'Enfant Plaza
  • Anacostia
  • Southern Avenue
  • Tysons
  • Columbia Heights
  • Georgia Ave-Petworth
  • Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood
  • Suitland
  • NoMa-Gallaudet U
  • Navy Yard-Ballpark
  • Silver Spring
  • U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo
  • Smithsonian
  • Minnesota Ave
  • Shaw Howard U
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
  • Brookland-CUA
  • Benning Road
  • Hyattsville Crossing
  • Foggy Bottom-GWU
  • Waterfront
  • Dupont Circle
  • Shady Grove
  • Van Ness-UDC

Metro plans to retrofit faregates across the Metro system over the next year. Check back here for updates.

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In 2023, we began upgrading Metrobus fareboxes and garage equipment. The new bus farebox features larger, brighter displays, faster processing of bills and coins and continue to offer quick and contactless payment for SmarTrip and mobile customers.

We're improving and modernizing your experience on Metrobus.

New FareboxThrough next summer, we're upgrading Metrobus fareboxes across the entire fleet-approximately 1,600 buses that serve customers in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

Our new fareboxes and separate SmarTrip card readers:

  • Process coins and bills faster
  • Have larger, brighter, and full color display for better visibility
  • Are more reliable due to technology upgrades and separate equipment

Green, "Tap here!" signs will signal customers to new location of the SmarTrip reader-keep an eye out for the new symbol.

The fareboxes are also receiving a software upgrade on a rolling basis to make sure the system runs smoothly.

New Way to Add Value to your SmarTrip Card

Metrobus Farebox Upgrade

There's a new way to add money to your SmarTrip Card-and you can also check your balance.

To add money to a SmarTrip card:

  1. Press +
  2. Tap SmarTrip card to reader
  3. Insert $/¢
  4. After adding $/¢ press O
  5. Tap SmarTrip card to reader again

Bills, coins, and approved tokens continue to be accepted at the farebox.

Installation Timeline:

June 2023 Farebox installations began
October 2023 New fareboxes installed on 25% of Metrobuses
Winter 2023/2024 New fareboxes installed on 50% of Metrobuses
Summer 2024 Installation complete

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In July 2023, Metro finished replacing approximately 3,000 short-term parking meters with 60 pay stations, providing customers with more convenient and modernized payment options, similar to modern pay stations being deployed on city streets.

Read the press release here

Pay Station kiss and ride
Pay Station Sign

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