Ben just told us about the paper transfer transition that’s coming, and while I agree that it’s overall a good move, it’s worth looking at the supposed availability of Smartrip cards for non-rail users. The press release makes availability look pretty extensive.
SmarTrip® cards can be purchased on Metro’s Web site by mail, and at 85 Metro sales offices at Metro Center, the Pentagon, Anacostia and Metro headquarters, at the Northern, Western, Landover, Royal Street and Four Mile Run Metrobus divisions, vending machines at Metrorail stations that have parking facilities, regional transit stores and select Giant stores
Unfortunately when I do a spot check of the area’s zip codes, particularly some of the poorer areas or ones with no rail service, it doesn’t look so great. You can get a visual of the area’s zips by going to this site and keying in 20024 to center the map over the metro area. Metro’s retail outlet finder will let you punch in those codes. Let’s give it a try.
20002: 2 outlets, none sell Smartrips.
20018: 1 outlet.
20019: 2 outlets, none sell Smartrips.
20020: 3 outlets, none sell Smartrips.
22304: 1 outlet, no Smartrips.
20745: 4 outlets, 1 sells Smartrips.
20785: 4 outlets, 1 sells Smartrips.
That’s about as much interest as I have in spot-checking WMATA but frankly I’m unimpressed. WMATA needs to do the right thing by the people who will be hardest hit by this and allow people to buy them from their bus driver.