You can now use your Apple Wallet to pay for trips on the Washington, DC, Metro

Sep 1, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The Apple Wallet is increasingly the contactless fare payment system of choice for transit agencies and riders the world over.

One can use Apple Pay for bus and train rides in a growing number of global cities, including Chicago, London, New York and Tokyo. And, beginning Tuesday, payments on the “Metro” transit system serving the Washington, D.C., region are also compatible.

Metro users can load their SmarTrip cards to their Apple Wallet on either an iPhone or Apple Watch to pay for rides. SmarTrip is accepted at all of the system’s 91 rail stations, plus Metrobuses and at least nine other regional bus operators. Riders can even add value to a SmarTrip card on their phone using Apple Pay.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news!

“We are excited to deliver a new level of convenience and simplicity for our customers,” said Metro general manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld. “If you have an iPhone or Apple Watch, you already have everything you need to simply tap and go.”

The process is simple. Riders simply need to click the add button in their Apple Wallet and SmarTrip comes up as an option under “Travel Cards.” There, they can select between creating a new SmarTrip “card” on their phone or transferring an existing one. Users must input account information from their existing card to transfer it.

One drawback is that Metro riders cannot have their SmarTrip card on both their iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time. However, they can transfer it back and forth on their phone.

Related: The New York City Subway Is Finally Getting a Contactless Fare System

The Metro announcement is a small bit of good news in an otherwise bleak year for transit. The coronavirus pandemic hit the agency hard with ridership falling below 10% of 2019 levels with numerous rail stations shuttered during the worst of the public health emergency. Riders have begun to return along with service resumptions, but Metro is losing around $2 million a day and could be forced to roll back service without additional federal aid, according to The Washington Post.

One thing the pandemic does not appear to have hit is construction of an extension to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). While it was delayed due to construction issues prior to COVID-19, the extension with a new station just a short walk from the airport terminal is due to open in 2021.

When it opens, the Washington region will join Chicago as the only multi-airport metro areas where every airport has its own train station. Metro trains already serve Washington Reagan National (DCA), and both Amtrak and the MARC commuter rail system serve Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

Related: Your complete guide to Apple Pay

Featured image by Edward Russell/TPG.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.