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SmarTrip users to get online access

WMATA riders who use SmarTrip cards will soon have online access to their personal information.

Metro's board of directors gave preliminary approval to the plan during their meeting Thursday. Officials said online access could be available as soon as July.

To be able to access their SmarTrip information online, customers will have to submit the name, address, date of birth, phone number and e-mail address associated with the SmarTrip card. The user then will be required to establish a user name, password, responses to three security questions and a digital signature to confirm that he or she is the registered user of the card.

Those who have registered to protect the stored value on their cards will need to verify personal information associated with the card on file. If the information doesn't match, the rider must contact the Regional Customer Center by telephone to verify recent ridership, usage and transactional information associated with the card.

Part of the reason the change is only now being made is because Metro did not have the technology in place to provide for online access of SmarTrip information. Previously, customers who wanted information about their SmarTrip data could only get a paper record. By providing online access to the information, Metro official say they will save approximately $6,000 a year in staff time and copying costs.

The full board is expected to approve the policy at its April 22 meeting.

By Lori Aratani  |  April 8, 2010; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  Metro , transit  
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Why is date of birth required? They should require the least amount of personal information as possible. Insane. Surprised they didn't ask for SSN too.

Posted by: wpjunk | April 8, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

They should come up with an idea where a person can load their smarttrip online. That is a function I think will go over well with residents.

Posted by: DMVinsider | April 8, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

This seems like a total kludge based on the fact that they've had these cards in circulation for 10 years and only now are providing online access.

Going forward there's no way they should require all that info--just have a registration code that comes when you buy the card.

I wonder if one will be able to access multiple cards from the same account.

Posted by: ah___ | April 8, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Love SmarTrip, but zero chance I trust Metro with this.

Posted by: ghokee | April 8, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

What, they don't want to know the color of my dog's eyes as well?

I am about as likely to give Metro this information as I am to contribute to the George W. Bush Greatest President on Earth Fund.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | April 8, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree with other posters - considering all you can do is essentially view your rider history and potentially see how much money is left on the card, why do you need DOB, address and phone number? And I also agree they should have a method for how to load money onto the card. I've seen posters that you can do it with Visa, but I've gone to the website and never found anything... That would save people a lot of time - and probably save WMATA money since they wouldn't need as many machines in each station (maintenance, paying for the credit card services, etc.).

Posted by: JG08 | April 9, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

For all of you saying this is too much info, I'd say this:

First, I agree in that I don't know why Metro is asking for date of birth. I'm guessing it's to match the DOB with those who have discounted senior SmarTrip cards, but it's only speculation. Why they would ask for everyone else is not clear to me.

As for everything else (name, e-mail, address, etc), those are the things you have to provide to register the card in the first place (see if you want to be able to retrieve the stored value if the card is lost or stolen. I'm sure they're asking for this info to make sure that someone doesn't fraduently try to register for online access to your card's data.

Posted by: ac123 | April 9, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

There is absolutely no way I will tell Metro such personal info just to get to check my account online. Now if I could reload the card online, I MIGHT consider it.

Posted by: janeway1 | April 9, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The worthwhile features that should be instituted are allowing you to add your monthly SmartBenefit to your card online and the ability to add money to your Smartrip card online with a credit card.

Posted by: buffysummers | April 9, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Of course first we have to remember the "name, address, date of birth, phone number and e-mail address associated with the SmarTrip card." How many chances do we get?

Did you register with your full name or short name? Work or home phone? Work or home email? If you can't guess them right, will it lock down your card and make it unusable? From my experience with government agencies, it probably will. Then you get to trudge on down to Metro Center and try to understand the mush-mouthed metrocrats.

Posted by: jiji1 | April 9, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

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