Old Metro cards won’t work after March 1, and the rush to replace them has led to long lines at the Metro Sales Office.
SmarTrip cards bought before 2012 are not compatible with new fare gates and fare boxes being installed in Metro stations and on Metrobuses. Anyone who has money on an old card and doesn’t want to lose it, has to transfer it to a new card by the March 1 deadline.
The only way to do it in person is to visit the Metro Sales Office, which is located within the Metro Center station and is only open from Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. D.C. resident Mary Evans went there Wednesday and had to wait in line for about two hours.
“It’s the most absurd, inefficient thing I’ve seen in a long time,” she said. “They have one window open … and about six or seven windows.”
John Ewell also lives in D.C. and was in the line of more than 50 people.
“They know that the time is running out for updating the fare cards … so they should have more stations open to do their job,” he said.
Since the sales office is only open Tuesday through Thursday, there are only three days left to replace old cards in person. A Metro employee working at the office told WTOP the hours would be extended until 3 p.m. for those final three days.
Metro riders who can’t make it to the sales office — or don’t want to — can mail in their old cards and Metro will transfer the balance to a new card and send it back within 10 business days. SmartBenefits participants can replace their old cards online.
Any Metro card that doesn’t have a set of numbers on the back that begins with “0167” needs to be replaced.
WTOP’s Thomas Robertson contributed to this report.