Won’t Metro please take my money?

So there I am, at Metro Center this morning, trying to put a little money on my SmarTrip card so I can get to work. Due to delays on the Red Line last night, I abandoned my car after the Trivia Fight and caught a ride into town this morning with Tom. I have:

– 1 SmarTrip card, balance -$.40
– 1 farecard, balance $.60
– $43.00, in two twenties and three singles

I just wanted to put the small bills on the card, because I have plans for those twenties today and didn’t really want a big ol’ pile of Sacajawea coins for breaking a twenty in a Metro machine. So I touch the SmarTrip to the panel, load in the farecard, and try to feed $3 into the machine. The third dollar bill is repeatedly rejected, so I give up and “Retouch SmarTrip to complete transaction.” The machine promptly spits out my farecard and my other $2, saying “Transaction canceled, cash and farecard returned.”

Um… wtf?

I try again. Everything goes fine until the third dollar bill is again rejected (same bill, I think), I try to complete the transaction, and the machine gives me back everything I just fed into it.

The lady behind me is very nice, and just as mystified as I am, but she needs to go to work too, so I go try another machine.

Touch SmarTrip, insert farecard, insert money, third bill rejected, retouch SmarTrip, transaction canceled. AGAIN.

I repeat…. W. T. F?

Finally, I get tired of it and pull out the credit card, because I’m still not giving up the $20 bill in my wallet. I put $10 on the card without incident…. and get annoyed that I still have this $.60 farecard in my hand. So I start the transaction over again, feeding in just the farecard this time and no cash. The $.60 is added to my SmarTrip, the farecard stays in the machine, and I’m on my merry way.

I don’t understand, Metro! What’s wrong with my money?

5 Comments so far

  1. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on February 14th, 2006 @ 12:43 pm

    So, my primary SmarTrip card broke the other day, and I finally got a new one last night before heading up to Columbia Heights. The could not, though, transfer the value from the old SmarTrip card (despite my being registered) to the new SmarTrip card. WTF? I had plop down $5, put more money on the card, then deal with Metro later.

    WTF. Thanks for makin’ this easy, Metro.

  2. Don (unregistered) on February 14th, 2006 @ 1:59 pm

    Their whole policy on SmarTrips is dopy from A to Z, in particular the fact that out of all the stations you can buy them in -3- places. Why you can’t get them at every station manager’s window is a mystery, unless WMATA policy forbids them from assigning the managers any duties that would interfere with their standing around and gabbing – their apparent primary responsibility.

  3. Stating the Obvious (unregistered) on February 14th, 2006 @ 11:55 pm

    Some stations in Virginia offer SmarTrips in vending machines (Falls Church comes tom mind).

  4. Eric (unregistered) on February 15th, 2006 @ 12:16 am

    The vending machines are at any stop with a parking lot – since you can pay and exit the lot with a SmartTrip card, I guess Metro figured it would be cruel to force you back to one of the three sales locations… especially if you jus trekked out to Glenmont.

  5. Don (unregistered) on February 15th, 2006 @ 10:11 am

    That makes good sense, and I’m glad to hear it. I’ve had one for years now so I hadn’t noticed – I was just trusting the information on this page to be accurate and it makes no mention of being able to acquire a card, only reloading.


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