The Smartcard Dilemna

It’s safe to say that since the introduction of the Smarttrip card my life as a metro commuter has gotten significantly easier.

Among the advantages:
-I don’t have to carry around exact change all the time when I board a bus
-I don’t have to wait in line to get a ticket
-I save time by not having to pull a card out of my wallet
-I don’t have to worry about my card being demagnetized

Smarttrip would be perfect, however, if everyone would take it. It used to be that I had to use exact change and pay with cash on the bus from Ballston to McLean/Tysons Corner which was such a pain because I was so used to carrying a Smarttrip card. Whenever I would forget my change, the bus driver would look at me like I was a vagrant trying to bum a free ride. “But look, I have a smarttrip card here! I’m not a bum! I have a hundred dollars worth of money on it! I’ll even write you a check, just let me on the damn bus!” Then the bus driver obliges, but scolds me and says “next time, bring money.” Of course, this is so frustrating because I have 5 or 6 forms of payment to give him.

Things improved when the Metro announced that they were going to have every bus system in the Metro Area use Smarttrip by the end of 2004. Noticeable changes were made. The 15 and 23 buses that serviced McLean got the Smarttrip and I’m pretty sure that every bus that is a metro bus (ones that say Metro on them, I don’t know how else to define it) uses Smarttrip (feel free to write a comment on this post if you know of a bus line that doesn’t use it). Also, the George in Falls Church uses Smarttrip and I’m sure there are a few others. In my immediate area, however, the Cue Bus of Fairfax City, the Arl of Arlington, and the Georgetown-Dupont Circle shuttle do not use the Smarttrip, and that still drives me insane. It’s been three years since the promise has been made to switch to Smarttrip and I’ve been hearing the same excuses from the drivers these past three years.

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One Response

  1. i agree with you okehiem

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