A message to MARC & VRE customers about the ‘Metro Option’

Advisory Effective: 6/4/18 - 7/15/18

In an effort to reduce fare-payment disputes, improve safety, and ensure that every rider is counted toward WMATA's funding grants, Metro is making a change in the use of its station-entrance emergency gates. Specifically, Metro is taking steps to ensure that every rider taps a SmarTrip® card, every time, for every ride. As part of that effort, emergency gates are being returned to their original purpose: for emergency use only.

Beginning July 1, MARC and VRE customers will need to use a SmarTrip® card to pay for their travel on Metro, including during MARC and VRE service disruptions. The "Metro Option" had been an informal courtesy extended by Metro that was carried forward over time. However, there was no process for Metro to properly track or seek reimbursement for the cost of these trips, nor any agreement between MARC/VRE and Metro to govern the program.

The secured emergency gates will not be opened by station managers for customers to travel on Metro. MARC and VRE customers are encouraged to consider purchasing a SmarTrip® card to carry with them in the event of a MARC or VRE service disruption.