Starting today, the Metro will no longer sell paper farecards, but instead SmarTrip cards from their vending machines. In the past three years, the Metro sold over 38 million paper farecards. The process to discontinue any paper farecard sales began this past October and completed a month ahead of schedule, according to a press release. Until March 6, 2016, the faregates will continue to accept paper farecards. Over 450 "blue" fare vending machines were upgraded in every Metrorail station with a "highly mechanical system of belts, pulleys, readers and ink stamps." Treasury Technical Manager for Metro Jim Bongiorno described this system as faster, safer, less costly, and more reliable than paper farecards. Additionally, each trip taken with a SmarTrip card costs $1 less than with a paper farecard. If your card is every lost or stolen, the unused value can be transferred to a new card. Additionally, a new feature called Auto Reload will allow any value below $10 to be automatically loaded into the user's next card. To gain your own SmarTrip card, you can register online or pay for a $2 card at upgraded vending machines.
· Metro reaches "paperless" milestone; all fare machines now selling SmarTrip® only [WMATA]