Passengers on the Metro can now use their iPhones to board trains and buses, as agency officials released SmarTrip cards on Apple Wallet Tuesday, DCist reported.
The report states that iPhone users can swipe their phones on the Metrorail and Metrobus to log fares on their accounts instead of grabbing their small plastic cards before each station checkpoint and Metrobus entryway. Riders now can also reload their cards on their phones after previously having to go online or to a store or Metrorail station to add value, according to DCist.
Riders with the iPhone 6S or newer phones can swipe through gates without opening their phone screen due to Apple’s Express Transit service, DCist reported. The report states users can use their virtual SmarTrip passes with phones that have been dead “for a few hours” if they have the iPhone XS or newer models.
Apple watches are also compatible with the new software, the report states. DCist reported that locals can use the new SmarTrip function at all Metro stations and 13 other “regional bus providers” that already accept SmarTrip cards.
Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said officials are currently working with Google to make the digital utility available for Android users, but he doesn’t know when that will happen. He said “nearly all” Metro riders use smartphones, DCist reported.
“It’s a much safer, faster, more convenient way to enter our system,” he said in the report. “It is really the future.”
Wiedefeld said he expects the new function for SmarTrip cards to help cut costs in months ahead, as the agency can roll back the number of fare machines and lower staffing for large events after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.