iPhone morphs into a SmarTrip Metro card


As the Washington D.C. Metro transit authority faces declines in ridership and revenue given the pandemic, it is striving to lure riders with a unique transaction option — using an iPhone or Apple Watch as an electronic SmarTrip card.

Metro riders with iPhone 6s and above will no longer need the SmarTrip plastic card to ride on the bus or train, according to a WAMU report. Riders just swipe or tap their iPhone or Apple watch on the fare gate to enter or exit the transit system.

Metro has invested $20 million in the project and believes it has long-term value.

“It’s a much safer, faster, more convenient way to enter our system,” Metro General <anager Paul Wiedefeld told the news outlet.

iPhone users and Apple watch users can migrate existing SmarTrip cards or add new ones or transfer funds to an Apple Wallet through the Metro app. The electronic SmarTrip card doesn’t require touch ID or face ID that’s used for Apple Pay. Customers can even swipe with a dead iPhone or one in need of charging.

When sers migrate a SmarTrip card to Apple Wallet, the plastic SmarTrip card will no longer be valid.

The digital SmarTrip cards are usable on Metrorail and Metrobus, as well as on the 13 regional bus providers that are already compatible with SmarTrip.

The agency is working with Google to make the digital options available to Android users, but no specific timeline has been given, according to the report.