Metro makes changes to Metrobus fareboxes

Metrobus changes affect operations on 40 routes. (Luz Lazo/The Washington Post). (Luz Lazo/The Washington Post).

Metro says reloading a SmarTrip card aboard a bus is easier now.

The transit agency has made a couple of changes to the Metrobus fareboxes that it says will help expedite the process of reloading SmarTrip cards and make the boarding process a little faster.

Starting today,  riders adding value to a SmarTrip card aboard a bus will have to make two “taps” to complete the process compared to three taps previously.

“On the first tap, passengers can add value. On the second tap, the farebox will add the value to the card and deduct the bus fare in one step,” Metro said in a release announcing the change.

Metrobus riders will also notice a new tone will sound at the farebox when their SmarTrip card has less than $1.60 in stored value. Metro says it hopes the warning tone will serve as a reminder to add value to the card.

But if you want to save time, Metro encourages you to reload your SmarTrip at  Metrorail stations, regional transit stores or some retail locations.  You can also use a feature called Auto Reload, which automatically adds value to the card when it drops below $10. You can check out auto reload at

The transit agency is considering installing off-board SmarTrip Recharge Stations at some bus stops to reduce delays caused by on-board card loadings.




Luz Lazo writes about transportation and development. She has recently written about the challenges of bus commuting, Metro’s dark stations, and the impact of sequestration on air travel.



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