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I am going to be in Washington DC for 7 consecutive days. I have a couple of questions please:

1- I am planning to buy a SmarTrip card. What are the cons of using such a card?

2- On the website, it is mentioned that the 7-Day Fast Pass is available only on a SmarTrip card. What does that mean?

3- If I am not mistaken, we cannot buy transportation tickets and cards at Dulles Airport (IAD). So if we want to take the 5A bus, we should pay with cash. Now, to go from the city to the Dulles airport, and suppose that I don't have a SmarTrip card, can I buy the bus ticket from somewhere or it is always purchased from the bus driver?

  • +1, A receipt is always available. your question number 2 relies on opinion, you can edit that to make it a specific question. Your question 3 is really good, please edit the others so as to be consistent with the site's format, thanks. – Gayot Fow Dec 1 '16 at 13:13
  • Thank you for your comment. Could you please tell me what the site's format is ? If you want to edit the question, I am OK with that. – din Dec 1 '16 at 13:22
  • Yo, read this! travel.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask it's really a great way to get incredible answers on your questions here. Really everything over there is great! Check it out – Gayot Fow Dec 1 '16 at 13:24
  • You have a great answer now. Are you in a position to accept it? You can mark it 'accepted' or explain what's missing. – Gayot Fow Dec 1 '16 at 17:26
  • Note that leaving sufficient time for the mail, SmarTrip cards can be purchased online. smartrip.wmata.com/storefront – Andrew Lazarus Dec 1 '16 at 22:37
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As for your first question - From the city to Dulles by 5A should be payable by SmarTrip - (See Metrobus5A info document) states:

Exact Fare Required

$7 using SmarTrip® and cash

$3.50 for seniors and people with disabilities

So you can just use the SmarTrip card you've been using in DC.

Your second question is kind of hard to answer, since we don't know how much you'll be taking the metro once you're in DC. A 7 day pass costs $59.25, and single SmarTrip fares by metro are anywhere between $1.75 (minimum off-peak fare) and $5.90 (maximum peak fare). On this linked page you can also see exact fares between stations, so you'll be able to find out if the 7 day pass will be worth it to you.

You can buy them in Rosslyn (and any other station), when you enter the station there will be banks of vending machines both for issuing new SmarTrip cards and topping up existing cards.

Since March 2016, WMATA has stopped issuing paper tickets and only works with SmarTrip cards, so I guess before March you could buy a 7 day Fast Pass without buying a SmarTrip card? Anyway, the question has become moot, since paper tickets have been phased out.

  • 2
    If you're in Rosslyn be sure to visit the Dutch Bells monument, it's well worth the extra time. – Gayot Fow Dec 1 '16 at 13:40
  • @GayotFow do you mean the Netherlands Carillon? – Robert Columbia Dec 3 '16 at 16:28
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    @RobertColumbia Yes, it's wonderful. I used to live in Rosslyn and one of the prime delights was the Netherlands monument. Well worth it – Gayot Fow Dec 3 '16 at 16:33
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You can purchase a SmarTrip card online straight from the source, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), for $10. It comes with $8 in stored value. This card should be enough to pay the $7 fare on the 5A Metrobus to get you from Dulles Airport to the Rosslyn Metro station, where you can add more value to your SmarTrip card using one of the automated fare machines.

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