Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Major SmartBenefits® Changes to Begin January 1, 2010

Beginning January 1, 2010, Metro’s SmartBenefits® program will change and enable employers to comply with a new federal mandate that requires transit benefits to be disbursed and monitored separately from other value stored in their employees’ SmarTrip® cards.

Under the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) mandate, transit benefits and parking benefits will be stored in two distinct accounts in a central location that will be accessible system-wide through the SmarTrip® card. The card itself will store only value directly added by the employee. In addition, area workers enrolled in the SmartBenefits® program will no longer need to take an extra step to load their transit benefits onto their SmarTrip® cards at a vending machine.

New monthly benefits, stored centrally, will automatically load when the card is tapped at any SmarTrip® target, including targets on bus fareboxes and rail faregates. Upgrades to the SmarTrip® card will enable customers to pay as they go, because value will be added to their cards similar to a bank debit card.

The maximum personal stored value by the employee will continue to be $300. Transit and parking benefits will be limited to $230 each in addition to the stored value limit.

For more information about Metro’s SmartBenefits® program, visit

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