Among other improvements coming next year to Washington DC’s fare card is the one I most wished for when I first arrived here: the ability to link it to a credit card and automatically replenish it as it gets low, like E-ZPass does.

As WMATA board member Peter Benjamin says in the Post article, “When you get in your car, you don’t feed dollar bills into it, so it doesn’t feel like it is costing you dollars. When you go on transit, a device is always taking your dollars. So we’ve created a psychological barrier.” People perceive a transit trip as costing money in a way they don’t with a car. Equalizing that, by making the payments happen automatically, could put transit on a more equal footing with driving.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.