What’s the “Word” on SelectPass

June 20th, 2016

Customers are saying great things about SelectPass, Metro’s new unlimited monthly pass program.


Word Cloud representing what SelectPass customers have said about the new pass program. Click for a larger version.

This post was submitted by Metro’s Director of Customer Research.

Metro’s limited time offer SelectPass has early adopters talking. In April, Metro sought to provide new payment methods by introducing SelectPass—a multi-tiered pass option allowing customers to ride as much as they want on Metrorail (and Metrobus).  Currently two price points are available.

Metro has been talking to those who elected to give the pass a go during its pilot phase. At the outset, Metro knew they had a product that would appeal to many customers but they didn’t know how positively it would be received. April adopters of the pass overwhelmingly (53%) rated their experience as “10 out of 10” in positivity. Nearly all SelectPass early adopters thought WMATA was moving in the right direction and most were telling friends, family and co-workers to check it out. Though some customers expressed some uncertainty of the pass’s budgetary benefits, sentiments in May were unchanged among returning users. New users offered similarly resounding praise and positivity during their inaugural month of usage.

SelectPass “positivity” stems from the cost saving benefits of the pass. The word cloud above provides further insight into what customers are saying about SelectPass—the larger the word the more often it was used to express their positivity. Look at what several customers have said specifically:

“Great value.”

“I do not have to worry about my balance as often.”

“I’m saving money and I don’t have to worry about how much is on my account!”

“Freedom! I don’t have to worry about making extra stops during a trip, or running an extra errand, calculating how much each activity will cost me in extra metro fees. I go where I want, when I want, getting to work and exploring the city without worry! Thank you for SelectPass!”

“It’s allowing me to ride the metro more often than I regularly would because of the money I am saving. I’m also able to travel further distances and pay a smaller amount. I love the select pass.”

“Super easy, makes me want to take metro everywhere!”

What has your experience been with SelectPass?  Let us know in the comments. Haven’t tried SelectPass yet? Sign up for your July pass now!

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  1. Mr. Transit
    June 20th, 2016 at 09:59 | #1

    Customers deciding on whether Select Pass works for them should focus mostly on the number of trips they take each month on Metrorail. If the number is >36 and their trips costs $2.25 or more, then Select Pass will generate savings for them. Similarly, if they take >36 trips per month and their average trip cost is $3.75 or more, they should probably buy the higher price Select Pass. Even if one’s average ride cost is in between the two price points, if you take more than 36 trips per month buying the $2.25 Select Pass and paying the difference each trip will still save the rider money. Sure, convenience is worth something, but lowering the cost of the Metrorail commute will sell more passes. And speaking of convenience, one of the great things about Select Pass is that it opens up the opportunity for trip chaining, i.e. running errands with multiple rail stops at essentially no cost to the rider.

  2. trixie
    June 21st, 2016 at 07:46 | #2

    I have a question regarding the use of SelectPass and federal SmartBenefits that I don’t seen answered in any of the SelectPass faqs.
    My commute is from Grosvenor to Farragut North and it’s 4.20 each way during rush hour. Your planner says the 135 pass is best for me, paying 3.75/trip with the remaining .45 paid from the balance on my card. Will my remaining SmartBenefits balance be loaded onto the card each month to pay for that overage, or do I lose it after buying the pass and pay the overage out of my pocket? If a SmartBenefits rider pays overages out of pocket and only uses Metro for the daily commute (because night/weekend service is so diminished), the new pass doesn’t seem like much of value.
    If the remaining SmartBenefits do go on the card to cover overages, do I still have the option of having the personal purse on the card to pay for parking or the bus? Or do I have to have a second card? Your site only says “smart cards can hold stored value, plus two unique products, such as time-based passes” — can there be a “SmartBenefits cash purse” and a pass and a personal purse?

  3. Michael
    June 21st, 2016 at 16:22 | #3

    Hi, Trixie:

    You can have two passes loaded on your card at a time, PLUS the stored value in your personal and SmartBenefits purses on your card. So, you can buy a pass with benefits, then pay upcharges with benefits until that runs out. Your parking will continue to come out of the personal purse on your SmarTrip card.

    1) You ask your benefits administrator to divert $135 per month into Transit Pass Benefits. The remainder of the monthly benefit will show up on your SmarTrip card in the benefits purse.
    2) You go online on the 1st of the month and purchase a pass with your benefits.
    3) Each time you use the pass, the fare difference will be drawn out of your transit benefits purse on your card until that runs out.
    4) Parking will continue to be drawn out of your personal purse funds, as well as any upcharges if you’ve run out of benefits.

    I hope this helps!

  4. Trixie
    June 21st, 2016 at 18:31 | #4


    Thanks Michael — that is very helpful. And the kind of basic, step-by-step stuff that should be in your FAQ — I know I’m not the only one wondering how this pass works with Smart Benefits, I heard someone asking at Metro Center yesterday, and the sales person couldn’t answer the question. I realize they’re not selling the pass, but they still should have the info at hand.

  5. Michael
    June 22nd, 2016 at 11:26 | #5

    Thanks for the feedback. I’ve updated the FAQ on the selectpass.wmata.com website:


  6. Craig
    July 27th, 2016 at 16:42 | #6

    I am curious if others have had the same issue with the timing of TransitPass Benefits (from my employer) and the SelectPass Auto Reload. The TPB arrive in my account on the 1st of the month but Metro’s AutoReload charges my Smartrip account on the 25th of the preceding month. The Smartrip AutoReload says that they will charge the TPB account first and if none available *then* it will charge my credit card on file. Since the TPB are obviously not there yet, my credit card is getting charged (instead of TPB). Smartrip Customer Service says I just have to call each month (after the 1st) and have them refund the CC and charge the TPB purse.

    This seems like a flaw that should be impacting a lot of people and should have a better solution than everyone calling every month.

    I guess I could just not refund the CC the first month and just keep using the TPB from the previous month to pay for the SelectPass. That isn’t addressing the underlying issue though and would leave me with “extra” TPB when I stop.

  7. Michael
    July 28th, 2016 at 09:28 | #7

    Yes, we are aware of this situation and if/when SelectPass becomes a permanent product, we will work to resolve this such that customers using SmartBenefits can use them for SelectPass including Auto-Reload.

    In the meantime, our SelectPass FAQ does mention this situation explicitly:


    “Third, do not sign up for Auto-Reload if you’re using benefits. Reloads are triggered seven days before the start of the month but your benefits will not be available until the month starts. Therefore, it will bill your credit card instead. We are actively working to resolve this issue.”

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