How To Use METRO Fare Cards

Your METRO Q® Fare Card is the quick and convenient way to pay for METRO services and enjoy other outstanding benefits:

  • 5 free trips for every 50 paid trips
  • Faster boarding
  • Free transfers (valid for three hours any direction)
  • Card balance protection with registration
  • Students and seniors can now obtain their METRO Q® Fare Card online. Disabled citizens and Medicare cardholders with requisite documentation will need to visit the METRO RideStore at 1900 Main to change their card to discounted status.
  • Enjoy discounts at select businesses along METRO bus routes and the METRORail lines with METRO's Rider Rewards program

How To Use the METRO Day Pass

The METRO Day Pass offers the best value for frequent local bus and rail riders who travel three or more times daily.

Valid only on the day of activation – expires 2 a.m. the following morning.

Free Transfers (up to three hours in any direction) for the first two paid fares. Enjoy unlimited travel, in any direction, after your third paid fare - same day only.

50% discount for students, seniors and disabled riders. Riders can preload up to $500 per card.

Frequent users are rewarded the same day, offering unlimited local bus and rail service.

Activates after three paid taps of your card.

Never pay more than $3 a day – no matter how often you ride.

Valid on METRO Park & Ride service; however, paid fares will not count toward the unlimited local bus and rail travel benefit.

Reuse and Reload

Not only is the METRO Q® Fare Card your quick and convenient form of payment for METRO buses and rail, it's also reusable. Reload your METRO Q® Fare Card at locations throughout the city, or directly on a rail platform or bus. Customer should maintain possession of the METRO Q® Fare Card or any other fare item upon boarding the bus or train as proof of paid fare.

Ticket Vending Machines (TVM)

TVM – Located on rail platforms, for getting a rail tickets; NOTE: some versions of these TVMs are for reloading your METRO Fare Card, some you can purchase a $5 METRO Fare Card or $5 METRO Money, paying with only cash, debit or credit.

graphic of three different types of Ticket Vending Machiness.

Credit Vending Machine (CVM)

graphic of CVM CVM – Located at Park & Ride locations, at 1001 Travis and 1900 Main RideStores, these machines allow you to reload your METRO Fare Card with a credit/debit card only.

On-board Reloader - Back of Bus Reloader (BBR)

graphic of BBR BBR – Found at the rear of all local METRO buses, the BBR allows you to reload your METRO Fare Card using cash only - no coins.

  • Insert your money in the slot
  • No coins please
  • Only one bill at a time
  • Accepts $1, $5, $10, $20
  • Place Q Card in Q Card holder
  • Value is automatically put on Q Card
Information on Ticket Vending Machines, Credit Vending Machine & Back of the Bus Reloader

Machine Type


Change Provided

Payment Types



Most Red and Green Line Station Platforms



Rail Ticket
Fare Card Reload


Most Green and Purple Line Station Platforms



Rail Ticket
$5 METRO Q Fare Card
$5 METRO Money


Most Red, Green and Purple Line Station Platforms



Rail Ticket Only
CVM Park & Rides/Select Transit Centers No Debit/Credit Fare Card Reload Only
BBR Majority of METRO Local Buses No Cash - no coins Fare Card Reload Only

METRO Q Box graphicUsing the Q Box is easy!

Tap It – Tap your fare card on the fare payment validator to pay for your trip. Make sure the light registers green in the upper right when you tap, as shown in the image. The screen will show your new balance and how many rides you've taken.

Wave It – Go contactless by waving your fare card in close proximity to the fare payment validator. Again, make sure the light registers green in the upper right when you wave your card. The screen will show your new balance and how many rides you've taken.

No Pass Back – If you tap your fare card twice, a red light turns on. The screen will read NO PASS BACK. The red light indicates you've already paid for the trip and will not be charged a second time.

Transfers – Transfers are free and will be recorded automatically on your fare card. They’re valid for up to three hours on local service only (Local Bus, METRORail or METRORapid).


Protect Your Balance

Register your new card to protect your balance if your card is lost or stolen. Call 713-635-4000.


NOTE: All METRO reloading machines listed above work the same way for all METRO fare cards.