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LANDOVER, Md. -- Twenty-six Giant Food stores in the Washington, D.C. area last week started selling SmarTrip cards, the reusable plastic Farecards used on local buses and trains.
Up until then, only a handful of retailers, among them a few Giant stores, offered the cards. They can also be purchased online and at Metro sales offices, commuter stores, and vending machines at subway stations with parking facilities.
Giant Food spokesman Jamie Miller told Progressive Grocer that the retailer would monitor the sales in the selected stores and make a decision at a later date, in collaboration with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, whether to roll out the program to other area Giant Food locations.
Stores selling the cards are in Washington, D.C.; Bethesda, Md.; Silver Spring, Md.; Arlington, Va.; and Falls Church, Va., among other locations. Giant Food features participating stores’ addresses on the "Now at Giant" section of its Web site, www.giantfood.com.
The selected Giant stores, picked according to their closeness to public transportation, among other factors, are selling the $5 SmarTrip cards at their customer service desks. Currently, riders buying SmarTrip cards at the stores will need to add money to the cards on the bus or at rail stations to cover their fares. At subway vending machines at subway stations, the minimum cost of the cards is $10, which includes $5 for the card.
Metro spokeswoman Cathy Asato told the Washington Post that agency officials want to allow other retailers to sell the cards, including pharmacy chain CVS and other grocers.
In a statement Metro general manager John Catoe said the aim of making the cards more widely available was "to get [them] into the hands of more and more customers in the neighborhoods we serve."