Is your METRO Q® Fare Card expiring?
- Customers who received their METRO Q® Card from their employer (i.e. the employer is a RideSponsor) should follow the instructions of their Employee Transportation Coordinator to get a new card.
- METROLift customers will be contacted by the METROLift department or call 713-225-0119.
Paying To Ride
Two ways to pay your fare - METRO Q® Fare Card or cash.
When paying your fare with cash, use exact change.
What is the METRO Q® Fare Card?
Think of the METRO Q® as an electronic wallet for METRO riders. This unique card contains a computer chip that stores your cash balance directly onto your card. Fares are automatically deducted from your card each time you ride, just like a debit card.
The METRO Q®, which stands for “quick,”
also provides free transfers and tracks your progress toward earning five free
every 50 paid trips. Just touch your card to the METRO Q® Box on your bus or
at METRORail platforms, and you’re on your way.
All fares are rounded to the nearest nickel, dime, or quarter.
Download Park & Ride Zone Map (PDF)
Are $1.25 one way and children five and under ride free; more information on rail fares >>
Ride Guide Information >>
Discounted METRO Q® Fare Cards - Information for students, seniors, Medicare cardholders and the disabled >>
How the METRO Q® Fare Card Benefits You
METRO Q® Fare Card holders will enjoy a variety of benefits:
- Five free trips for every 50 paid trips*
- Faster boarding
- Free transfers (valid three hours in one direction)
- Balance is protected (when you register your card)
- 50 percent discounts for students, seniors, disabled and Medicare cardholders
*Trips cannot be combined from multiple METRO Q® Fare Cards.
Patrons with questions about transferring remaining balances on Stored Value Cards are asked to call METRO’s customer service line, 713-635-4000.
Please remember that:
- METRO will make no cash refunds. Unused balances will be transferred onto a METRO Q® Fare Card.
- Lost or stolen METRO Q® Fare Cards are replaced free of charge for the first loss. There is a $10.00 replacement fee for each replaced card, thereafter.
METRO Q® FAQs
Q: What is a transfer?
A: A transfer is when you move from one transit vehicle to another using the same ticket of fair item to complete your trip. This can be bus to bus, bus to train or train to bus.
Q: When parking is suggested, what it is like?
A: Parking for the Rail system can be done at a number of privately owned parking lots along the rail system or at the Fannin South Park and ride lot. The Fannin South Park and Ride is located at the corner of Fannin and W. Bellfort.
Q: What is the cost?
A: Parking rates vary depending upon when and where you park. Riding on the train cost $1.25 for a one way trip.
Q: How often does a train without transfers come along and how do we identify it?
A: All the trains operate to all of the stations during normal service.
Q: What a "fare item," that one must have to wait for a train?
A: A fare item is the generic way of saying pay for your fare. This can be a ticket from a ticket machine on the platform or a prepaid METRO Q® Fare Card
Q: How do the METRO Q® Fare Cards really work?
A: When you tap the METRO Q® Fare Card on the METRO Q® Box, the reader instantly interacts with the chip in the smart card - and the appropriate fare will be debited from your balance. You will be able to add money to your METRO Q® Fare Card by visiting a participating retail location, METRO RideStores, METRO Ticket Vending Machines (TVM), a Credit Vending Machines (CVM) at Transit Centers and some Park & Ride locations or on a Back of Bus Reloader (BBR) located onboard local buses.
Q: How secure are METRO Q® Fare Cards?
A: The data is encrypted. The equipment to read the card has to be properly programmed to read the encrypted information. It’s not absolutely impossible, but it’s extremely unlikely that someone would be able to read a METRO Q® Fare Card with homemade equipment. There’s minimal information located on the METRO Q® Fare Card. When you register your card, all the information you submit during registration will not be on the METRO Q® Fare Card. It will be in a highly secure database.
Q: What is stored on the card?
A: Basic information: the type of passenger you are (full fare, senior, student, disabled) and the stored value on the card – how much money you have loaded on the card, and a card ID number.
Q: Who has access to the database?
A: Only authorized individuals at METRO.
Q: Will the information in the database be
regularly shared with law enforcement?
Q: Can someone use my METRO Q® Fare Card to make fake ones?
A: Never say never. But it is extremely difficult to generate a counterfeit fare item in the new system. In addition to being very difficult, it’s equally important to have the ability to detect a counterfeit item and prevent its use. The METRO Q® Fare Card system allows us to track the use of a card, both in payments made from the cards and extra funds added to the card. If a card shows up in the METRO Q® system that has money on it that the system's database doesn’t know about, the card is invalidated and can’t be used.
Q: If my trip involves
taking a bus eastbound, then transferring to another bus northbound, will the
transfer still work since I am not traveling in the same direction?
A: There won’t be a problem. You’ll get a free transfer with a 3 hour transfer window if it’s a continuation of the same trip, even though the bus seems to be going in a different direction.
How will the cost of the fare be determined if each leg costs a different
amount? For example, if the second leg of my trip costs 50 cents more, do I have
to tell the bus driver I am transferring to a more expensive bus before I swipe
A: Your METRO Q® Card will automatically add the extra 50 cents to the more expensive leg of the trip.
happens if I take a Park & Ride, then a local? Will the METRO Q® Card account for the
A: Yes. The METRO Q® Card will only deduct the fare increment when you get on the most expensive bus.
Q: I’m a senior. What do I do when my pass is
about to expire?
A: All seniors should exchange their METRO Q® Cards at the METRO RideStore. This will make you eligible for half-price fares if you are between the ages of 65 and 69. For seniors 70 or older, rides are free with the 70+ Lifetime METRO Q® Fare Card, which is also available at the RideStore.
Q: Hey, do I
have to be a speed reader? When I flash my card at the METRO Q® Box, my balance doesn’t
stay up long enough for me to read.
A: Keep your card next to the METRO Q® Box and hold it steady. The information will remain up for as long as you hold your METRO Q® Fare Card to the METRO Q® Box.
Q: When I try to tap my card again, I get a red light.
A: The METRO Q® Fare Card has a feature that prevents you from being charged twice for the same trip. When you tap your card a second time within five minutes of the first time you tapped it, you’ll see a message on the METRO Q® Box of "No Passback.”
Q: What happens if I
accidentally tap my card against the METRO Q® Box twice? Will I be charged twice?
A: No, you won’t. That’s one of the reasons why we have the “No Passback” feature.
Q: Why does the METRO Q® Box not read my card sometimes?
A: Make sure your METRO Q® Card is not flat against another smart card, like an employee card when tapping from your wallet.
Q: Do I need to tap
my card on the METRO Q® Box when I’m taking the train?
A: Yes, be sure to tap your METRO Q® Card against the METRO Q® Box before you board the train. The METRO Q® Box is located adjacent to the ticket vending machine. Otherwise, when METRO police check on board to see if passengers paid – and wave their wand over your METRO Q® Card, it will indicate the card wasn’t properly tapped. You’ll be in violation.
Call 713-635-4000 and hit the prompt for the METRO Q® Card help desk.
NOTE: METRO is neither associated, nor affiliated with Q Card Company or Brush Holding, Inc.