[An earlier verison of this post said the pilot would last four months.]
Metro has launched a pilot program to test a new system that will allow riders to upload money to their SmarTrip electronic fare cards from their own computers.
About 5,000 Metro riders were randomly selected from among Metro’s riders to participate.
Software troubles have long plagued SmarTrip, and Metro plans to eventually replace the technology. The company that makes SmarTrip cards is discontinuing them, and Metro has purchased an estimated two-year inventory, depending on usage.
The pilot program for the uploading to SmarTrip cards is expected to last about four weeks, according to Dan Stessel, a Metro spokesman.
According to an e-mail sent to those in the pilot program, the system will allow riders to use a credit card to “purchase stored value and passes” for a SmarTrip card. It will allow a rider to save the “credit card information for future purchases and to print detailed receipts.”
The links in the pilot program say “View Card Summary,” an area that allows a riders to see a shopping cart icon, track their online purchases and an option to “add value” and “add pass.”
The e-mail from “Your SmarTrip Account Team” states, “These new features are intended to make it more convenient for you to manage the balances on your cards and avoid the lines at ticket vending machines.”
The current software system for SmarTrip, called Cubic, has had some troubles with patrons not being able to upload fares on their weekly bus passes, and recently some riders have said they’ve had trouble adding fares at machines to their SmarTrip cards.
Are you participating in the pilot? Share your experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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