The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or Metro, has proposed a plan to completely phase out paper fare cards in the 2015 budget and capital improvement plan released on Thursday.
Metro announced a sustainability strategy last month, but changes to the fare cards were not among the initiatives to be taken. Included in the proposal is an $8.7 million project that will have fare machines retrofitted to distribute the transit system's plastic SmarTrip cards as opposed to the paper versions. The price of SmarTrip cards was lowered to $2.00 from $5.00 last year.
Most Metro riders already own SmarTrip cards due to the incentives offered along with them, according to a CBS affiliate. The paper fare cards cost $1.00 more per rail trip, and if you plan on taking the Metrobus, a SmarTrip card will save you 20 cents.
Metro said that "the machinery used to process paper fare cards is outmoded and includes an intricate system of rollers, printers, sensors, and wiring that is difficult and time consuming to maintain when compared to the contactless SmarTrip technology." In addition, according to Metro, use of the faster SmarTrip cards will reduce back up at the gates.
The sustainability initiative adopted by Metro last spring was called Momentum and aimed at reducing the region's environmental impact through building LEED certified facilities and investing in clean hybrid and natural gas buses among other goals.
Going paperless provides many advantages in regard to a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly office. According to the Environmental Protection Agency paper and paperboard make up the largest segment of the United States' annual solid waste. Companies and local governments across the country are undergoing transitions similar to the WMATA, using conversion services in order to convert to electronic document storage solutions and reduce environmental footprints.
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