Metro to require full fare from SmarTrip users

WASHINGTON — Metro says it’s going to stop helping out SmarTrip riders who come up short on their fares.

SmarTrip users can now exit the system even if the amount on their cards can’t cover the price of their trips. The system deducts the amount needed to exit the next time the user adds value to their SmarTrip cards.

The change means riders will have to add enough value to their cards to cover their trips before leaving the system.

Metro is making the change as it hikes fares to help close a $189 million shortfall and while dropping the cost of SmarTrip cards from $5 to $2.50, an amount that is less than most fares.

Metro says the change makes rules consistent for all users, whether they are using SmarTrip cards or paper cards. The change is expected to go into effect sometime this fall.