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Metro offers refunds for delayed inauguration passes

A special inauguration SmarTrip pass with a cover featuring President Donald Trump are seen inside a Metro station the morning of Inauguration Day. Many inauguration goers who pre-ordered the special passes didn't receive them in time for the event. Metro says they can request a refund. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

WASHINGTON — Inauguration-goers who ordered a special, one-day Metro pass but never received the card in time for the big event can request a refund.

As of Monday morning, Metro had received more than 400 refund requests tied to the 28,864 Inauguration Day passes that were sold online, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said.

Riders who did not receive the cards in time for Inauguration Day can request a refund by calling SmarTrip customer service at 888-762-7874. Once the agent confirms that the card was not used, the refund of the full $10 will be processed. Stessel said customers can keep the card once it arrives.

The discounted $10, one-day passes were good only on Inauguration Day, so the cards have no value. The cards can be used going forward like any other SmarTrip card (which typically costs $2).

The deadline to order the special passes was Friday, Jan. 13 to ensure the cards arrived before Inauguration Day, Metro had said.

But several WTOP reporters who ordered the cards before the deadline in order to travel to Inauguration Day assignments had not received the cards as of Monday, and several WTOP listeners said they had not received the cards either. WTOP reporters received a notice only late on the eve of Inauguration that their cards had shipped.

Stessel suggested some of the delays for the cards could be tied to weather issues in the Midwest near the facility that processes SmarTrip cards. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday, might also have contributed to the delayed arrival.

Monday morning, the refund process took about 15 minutes for a WTOP reporter. Here are a few steps to follow:

  • Have the order confirmation email ready
  • Dial 888-SMARTRIP (888-762-7874)
  • Press 1 for English (or 2 for Spanish)
  • When prompted, press 2 for a card you have not registered
  • Press 1 for purchase of a new card
  • Wait on the line to be prompted for your SmarTrip card number. Those who received a shipping confirmation email, enter the card number followed by the pound sign. Those who have not received a shipping confirmation email, simply enter the pound sign to be connected
  • Wait on the line for a customer service representative. If there is a wait, there will be an option to enter a phone number for customer service to call back when it is your turn in line
  • Confirm order details so agent can confirm card was not used
  • Receive refund in 5 to 7 days

Metro recorded more than 570,000 trips on Inauguration Day. The next day, Metro set a record for Saturday ridership. The transit agency said that 1,001,616 trips were taken the day of the Women’s March on Washington.

Metro ran smoothly for the most part on both days. However significant crowding across the system lasted for hours on Saturday and a Green Line train broke down near West Hyattsville late Saturday afternoon. Riders were stuck on the crowded train for more than an hour.


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