WMATA reaches milestone of installing new, improved faregates

Jan. 27, 2022
March 1 is the deadline for phasing out older fare cards. 

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is making progress on installing its new faster and better faregates that aim to make it easier for customers to tap, pay and ride.  

Installation has reached nearly 50 percent of all stations, one-third of which are complete. This is part of WMATA’s fare modernization program to improve the rail system’s faregates and fareboxes on Metrobus, along with other fare technology upgrades, including mobile pay on Apple iOS and Android. 

In conjunction with the rollout of the new faregates and bus fareboxes in late 2022, WMATA announced last April that older SmarTrip® cards will be phased out. SmarTrip cards purchased prior to 2012 contain outdated chip technology and do not work with the new faregates now installed or partially installed at nearly half of all stations. 

To assist customers with the transition, beginning March 1, the old farecards will no longer be accepted at fare vending machines in stations, fareboxes on buses, parking facilities and retail locations. 

Beginning Feb. 7, customers also won’t be able to add value to old cards online. Additionally, WMATA has begun to discontinue the ability to add money to old, obsolete cards at fare vending machines in all stations currently with new faregates. Labels will be added to indicate which machines no longer process the old cards. This will help customers avoid putting additional funds on cards that don’t work in those stations. 

“We encourage customers to replace their old SmarTrip cards today and not to wait,” said WMATA General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “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.” 

Replace cards now 

Customers can easily 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. Check the serial number on the back of the SmarTrip card. If the serial number doesn’t start with “0167” 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. 

WMATA’s investment in new fare payment technology will improve the customer experience, replacing faregates that were more than 25-years old, slower to process and more difficult to repair with parts that had become obsolete. 

The new faregates, made of high-quality, brushed-finished stainless steel, include enhanced safety features, larger displays and improved processing for mobile devices and other contactless payment options in the future. For details and schedule updates on the faregate replacement view the Faregate Replacement Project page.