Metro’s skeleton emphasized that a passenger’s existent SmarTrip label would effectively quit to a mobile phone with a same features, functionality, and behind-the-scenes record to keep lane of payments and trips. While this competence make for an easier transition, it competence also extent Metro’s ability to innovate and contest in a fast elaborating universe of civic mobility.
Urban commuters currently can select from a series of modes like bikeshare, scooter share, and float hailing that didn’t exist when SmarTrip launched 20 years ago. Transit agencies are starting to experiment with incorporating these modes into their possess networks. Will a new SmarTrip mobile app concede passengers to buy tickets for these new services—or others that don’t even exist yet? And will it capacitate innovations that can urge movement riders’ user experience, like faithfulness programs or partnerships with merchants nearby a movement stop? Metro has given no answers, and when asked, declined to make a open comment.
Without clarity on these questions, it’s tough to see how Metro’s mobile app will ready SmarTrip for an increasingly rival and multimodal future. If, as it appears, Metro skeleton to covering a app on tip of existent SmarTrip infrastructure, no new facilities like faithfulness programs are likely. SmarTrip’s sealed backend complement also creates it formidable to emanate a multimodal sheet and discharge payments to other providers, gloomy integrations. It looks as if Metro competence be treacherous a quick-fix proceed to creation with a long-term strategy.
To be fair, between vigour from a antagonistic Trump administration and ridership declines in roughly each train complement in a United States, movement agencies don’t have it easy right now. As in many cities, train ridership in Washington declined final year, and Metro cast most of a blame on private mobility services—especially float hailing.