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Old 07-28-2013, 11:40 AM   #1
daemom
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Washington DC Metro Fare Cards

I've searched here--and there are thousands of threads on DC--but I can't find exactly what I need here or online and I thought that I could get an answer from people who actually use it frequently.

Family of five going to DC for a long weekend staying in Crystal City. We'll be riding the metro to the Smithsonian Stop, Union Station (if we're too tired to walk) and back for 2-3 days. The last time we were there we got paper fare cards and I see that if we use those that it will be an additional $1 charge each way for each person--am I reading this correctly? I see that there's a SmartCard (I might be using the wrong word) to use now. Would this be beneficial for our family? Can we get two and put money on them to use or will people get upset if we have to stop and pass a card back to a family member? We'll plan to travel at off-peak times.

Can anyone give me an idea of the best way to travel the metro with some type of fare cards? Thanks!
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:00 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by daemom View Post
I've searched here--and there are thousands of threads on DC--but I can't find exactly what I need here or online and I thought that I could get an answer from people who actually use it frequently.

Family of five going to DC for a long weekend staying in Crystal City. We'll be riding the metro to the Smithsonian Stop, Union Station (if we're too tired to walk) and back for 2-3 days. The last time we were there we got paper fare cards and I see that if we use those that it will be an additional $1 charge each way for each person--am I reading this correctly? I see that there's a SmartCard (I might be using the wrong word) to use now. Would this be beneficial for our family? Can we get two and put money on them to use or will people get upset if we have to stop and pass a card back to a family member? We'll plan to travel at off-peak times.

Can anyone give me an idea of the best way to travel the metro with some type of fare cards? Thanks!
You can't do what you are proposing. Each rider needs their own fare card. The SmartTrip card costs $5, if I remember correctly. You can purchase them at certain metro stations and at some retail outlets (like CVS). You should figure out if the cost of higher fares is more than the initial cost of the cards.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:05 PM   #3
Mickey'snewestfan
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If you will be riding the metro 5 or more times then the smart trip card is a better deal. It's also more convenient because you can register it and if you lose it you get the $ back, and it's hard like a credit card so if you get caught in the rain or something it still works fine.

You can't "Pass it back". Not because people will be annoyed but because once you've used it to enter, you need to use it to exit before you can enter again. If you went in and then passed it back, the next person couldn't get in.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:55 PM   #4
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If you register your SmartTrip card, they put an extra $3 on it. They did on mine but the $$ expired before I got back to DC.

Also, if you are using Metro parking, you need a SmartTrip card to pay at the lot.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:08 PM   #5
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If you register your SmartTrip card, they put an extra $3 on it. They did on mine but the $$ expired before I got back to DC.

Also, if you are using Metro parking, you need a SmartTrip card to pay at the lot.
Oooh, I forgot about the $3. You could order the cards online, and then you can register them in time to get the $3, and also not have to worry about buying them at the station or finding a CVS. I lost my card recently, and replacing it was actually a pain. The first 2 CVS's I tried were sold out, and when I went into the station the machine's credit card reader was broken and it only takes exact change. I had a $20, which I couldn't use since it costs $10.

http://www.wmata.com/fares/purchase/store/
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:42 PM   #6
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Get the Smart Card, its worth it.

And as stated you cant pass it back. Unlike other sub way systems, the DC Metro has you use your card when you enter and exit the station. The amount you pay is based on where you get on and off.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:02 PM   #7
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I was just in DC last weekend visiting my daughter.

GET the SMART CARD!!!

EVERYONE needs their own card!!!

I found the attendants always available at any station for questions.

Have a great trip. WASHINGTON, DC is a such a fabulous place.


Great eats at Olley's Trolley if you happen to walk-by. Great Diner food!!
If you make it Alexandria, VA to King's Street OLD TOWN I can recommend BUGBY's PIZZA!! And the Artichoke Dip is very, very good too!
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:12 PM   #8
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LOL!! Earlier this evening I had the "V-8 moment" where you thunk yourself on the forehead.....of course you can't share cards!! Why did I even think I'd read that somewhere?? I'm losing it!

I think it sounds like it would be beneficial to get the card instead of the paper card. Thanks for any food ideas!! We're usually trying to see as much as we can and just eat as we go, but this time I'm going to try to plan some things out a but more. I just want to be "we're in this area and I've heard this and this is a good place to eat"--you know, so I'll "appear" like I have it together!! Lol!

Thank you all so much for your input!!!! Looking forward to some fun family time!
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:23 PM   #9
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LOL!! Earlier this evening I had the "V-8 moment" where you thunk yourself on the forehead.....of course you can't share cards!! Why did I even think I'd read that somewhere?? I'm losing it!
You CAN do this in Chicago (with fare debit cards, not daily passes), so perhaps that was what you had heard?
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