Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GOCard-SmartTrip Deal Hits Roadblock

Students anticipating the introduction of the new SmarTrip-equipped GOCards will likely have to wait until next year, as the new program tripped over another stumbling block in a string of obstacles since the plan was first considered in November last year.

After licensing issues and a pricing disagreement with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority set the project back in November, a new problem has emerged: the poor quality of the first shipment of new cards.

“Basically we had some issues with the durability of the cards that WMATA provided us,” said Roman Fahrmann, the director of GOCard Services.

As the university awaits a new set of cards, the plan will likely not be implemented this year, Fahrmann said.

The university is anticipating a shipment of new, more durable cards this December.

“We need to work out the type of card that is used since we don’t want them breaking on our students every other week,” Fahrmann added.

The plan, if implemented, would allow the GOCard office to print a student’s GOCard information on a blank SmarTrip card that contains the computer chip necessary for travel on the Metro system.

Students could then purchase the GOCards prepared for use on the Metro system for an additional fee. The cards would have a separate GOCard account, while money for the SmarTrip would have to be deposited through WMATA.

Initially, the agreement stalled because Cubic Transportation Services, the makers of the SmarTrip cards for WMATA, had already trademarked the name “GOCard.”

While this issue has since been resolved, WMATA and the university’s GOCard office then reached a standstill as disagreement arose over the cost of the cards. Georgetown initially wanted to charge a fee of $5, as is the cost of a SmarTrip card purchased through WMATA, while WMATA sought a higher fee for the added costs involved in making the custom cards. The university eventually decided to go with a cost that WMATA would set for the cards.

Fahrmann said that he will not know when the new cards can be implemented until the university has a chance to examine the new cards that WMATA provides.

WMATA representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

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