The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced on Tuesday that Android phone users can now pay fares on the DC area Metro system using SmarTrip launched on the Google Pay app, instead of the physical cards.
“No more digging in a purse or wallet to find a SmarTrip card. Riders just wake their phone and hold it near the card reader to pay,” Metro said in a press statement.
The Android “tap-and-go” feature has been released as the region emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and an increasing number of riders return to public transport.
“This breakthrough means our customers can now pay to ride Metro as easily as they buy coffee with their phones,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said. “It’s an investment in the future of Metro, as we modernize our system to incorporate many new technologies.”
Android users can also download the SmarTrip App from the Google Play Store to add funds, buy money-saving passes, view SmartBenefits, set up Auto Reload and plan their trip.
There will be no purchasing fee for the virtual SmarTrip card for Android users within the first six months of the launch.
Existing SmarTrip cards can be transferred to the digital version, or a new one can be bought.
“We want to make everyday things fast and easy with Google Pay,” said Alan Stapelberg, product manager, Google Pay. “Commuters using Metro can now use Google Pay as their ticket to ride public transport in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, making commuting less stressful.”
Metro has been providing the same tool to iOS users since September 2020 through SmarTrip on iPhone and Apple Watch.
The touch-free system can be used anywhere SmarTrip is accepted on Metrorail, Metrobus, Metro-operated parking lots and garages, as well as all regional providers; ART, DASH, Fairfax Connector, Cue, Ride On, TheBus, Circulator, Loudoun County Transit, and OmniRide.