Metro's decision to keep people with Farecards worth less than 65 cents from entering subway stations has led to a torrent of inquiries: What about D.C. school-fare cards (20 cents a ride)? What about senior citizens (generally half fare)? What about bus/rail flash passes, which cannot be traded in when their rail-fare value falls below 65 cents?
In posting cryptic one-sentence announcements in its stations, Metro didn't answer these questions. So we asked spokeswoman Marilyn Dicus for an explanation. Here it is:
School, senior citizen and flash pass Farecards will be accepted at station fare gates, regardless of what value remains encoded on the cards. If you don't have enough value on either a senior citizen or flash pass card, you can make it up--as always--on the Addfare machine. D.C.-subsidized school-fare cards, valid only within the city, are rigged so they'll never come up short.
While we're at it, here's a postscript to Dicus' earlier advice to test the value of your card, if in doubt, by running it through the "trade in" slot on a Farecard vending machine. If the card's value is less than $2, its value will be displayed on the front of the machine; if it's $2 or more, the card will be returned to you (and the machine will flash, redundantly, "see attendant").