Metro says it hit milestone installing new faregates; old SmarTrip cards being phased out

Passengers wait to board a Red Line train at Metro Center on Feb. 16, 2017. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is touting a new milestone in the transit agency’s installation of new, improved faregates at “nearly” 50% of Metro stations around the D.C. area.

The agency said in a release that one third of the new faregates had been completed.

As part of the upgrades, Metro said SmarTrip cards bought before 2012 are being phased out. The reason being that they have outdated chip technology and don’t work with the new faregates.

Those older cards won’t be accepted starting March 1. Customers won’t be able to add value to the cards online starting Feb. 7. Metro is halting the ability to add money to older cards at fare vending machines.

“We encourage customers to replace their old SmarTrip cards today and not to wait,” Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement.

“As we transition to new, upgraded faregates taking this step now will ensure that as customers return to offices and other activities, they’ll be ready to go.”

Metro said riders can 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.

The agency said to check the serial number on the back of the SmarTrip card. If the serial number doesn’t start with “0167,” then 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 replacement page.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

Passengers wait to board a Red Line train at Metro Center on Feb. 16, 2017. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
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