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Cash-Free Transit: Convenient or Unjust?

Washington, D.C.'s Metro is trying a cashless bus pilot that will last until December.
June 4, 2018, 1pm PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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"Metro is set to ban cash payments on the 79 limited-stop route along Georgia Avenue, between the Silver Spring Transit Center and Archives-Navy Memorial, starting June 24. It’s part of a pilot program meant to speed up bus trips that is drawing some concerns from riders," Max Smith reports for WTOP.  This pilot program will last until December and could spread to other bus lines if the agency decides the pilot is a success. By eliminating cash, Metro is hoping to shrink "dwell times," or the amount of time the bus stands stationary at stops while riders board and pay fares.

The new policy will not effect most riders. "About 3 percent of riders — 200 people each day — use cash just on Route 79, Metro said, while another 6 percent of riders add value to their SmarTrip cards," Max reports. But a lack of access to credit may be why those who do not pay with a credit or debit card use cash. This would make it difficult for them to make the switch. While some grocery stores and pharmacies will be able to accept cash payments for transit fares, stops and buses would not be able to take cash payments.

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Published on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 in WTOP
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