Metro Returns Regular Weekday Service Today, February 7, and Will Require All Metro Users to Have Newer Farecards by March 1

by Patrick Herron
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Per Montgomery County:

Metro has announced that Metrobus will return to regular weekday service on Monday, Feb. 7. Metrobus has been operating on a modified Saturday schedule, offering approximately 75 percent of normal weekday service, since Jan. 10 due to covid-related staffing shortages. In addition, Metro will require riders to have newer farecards starting March 1.

While Metro is still experiencing above-average absenteeism, case rates are declining and employees are returning to work following their quarantine requirements.

In its effort to restore regular service on Metrobus, Metro will strategically deploy additional buses when possible to help increase capacity on busy lines.

Metro is working to identify exact staffing levels at each bus division to schedule shifts and re-mobilize the bus fleet. Once regular Metrobus service has resumed, some trips may need to be adjusted based on employee availability each day.

Metro will update customers about service changes through MetroAlerts text and email messages, on the Status and Alerts page at wmata.com and through @MetrobusInfo and @MetrorailInfo on Twitter.

Riders are encouraged to sign up for MetroAlerts to receive the latest service information.

Faster, better faregates are making it easier for customers to tap, pay and ride Metro with installation now reaching nearly 50 percent of all Metrorail stations, one-third of which are complete.

The new faregate system is part of Metro’s fare modernization program to improve the rail system’s faregates and fareboxes on Metrobus, along with other fare technology upgrades, including mobile pay on Apple iOS and Android.

In conjunction with the rollout of the new faregates, and bus fareboxes in late 2022, Metro announced last April that older SmarTrip® cards will be phased out. SmarTrip cards purchased prior to 2012 contain outdated chip technology and do not work with the new faregates now installed or partially installed at nearly half of all stations.

To assist customers with the transition, beginning March 1, the old farecards will no longer be accepted at fare vending machines in stations, fareboxes on buses, parking facilities and retail locations.

Beginning Feb. 7, customers also will not be able to add value to old cards online. Additionally, Metro has started to discontinue the ability to add money to old, obsolete cards at fare vending machines in all stations currently with new faregates. Labels will be added to indicate which machines no longer process the old cards. This will help customers avoid putting additional funds on cards that do not work in those stations.

Customers can easily replace their old farecards by mail, online, phone or in-person,and transfer any balance to a new or existing SmarTrip card or virtual card through SmarTrip mobile pay for iOS and Android. Check the serial number on the back of the SmarTrip card. If the serial number does not start with “0167,” it needs to be replaced.

For step-by-step instructions on how to replace old cards or transfer balances including SmartBenefits to another card, visit the SmarTrip Card Replacementpage.

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