Beginning Monday, Metro customers will no longer be permitted to carry negative balances on their SmarTrip cards.
Metro is reminding customers that they must have the full fare for any ride. On Metro trains, faregates will not open for customers with a balance lower than the cost to ride, and customers will be directed to a fare machine to add value. For riders of MetroBus, if someone has insufficient funds to pay for the trip the farebox will buzz and more money will need to be loaded onto the card.
Less than one percent of riders have a negative balance, but Metro said that unresolved negative balances on SmarTrip cards resulted in about $25 million in lost revenue over time.
Metro announced the change of policy in November. It has encouraged riders to sign up for “auto reload” on their SmarTrip cards, which adds value to the card when the balance drops below $10.
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