- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 21, 2016

There is something curiously missing from the 2017 Inauguration Celebration SmarTrip fare card that the D.C. Metro unveiled Wednesday: Donald Trump’s image.

The patriotic design for the 2017 Inauguration Celebration is an American flag with a drawing of the White House in a roundel at the center of the card.

Metro customarily releases special-edition fare cards for its subway system around the presidential inauguration. In 2009 and 2013, the SmarTrip cards bore images of a smiling Barack Obama. In 2013, the card included a caption reading, “America makes history again.”

The transit agency says that it sought an approved image from the Trump transition team but never heard back from the Trump campaign Washingtonian magazine reported Wednesday, which cited a Metro statement.

“Due to the long lead time to produce the cards, the new pass commemorates the national celebration of the 58th Presidential Inauguration,” Metro said in an emailed statement, reported Washingtonian magazine.

After significant reaction on social media, an official with the Trump inauguration committee tweeted Thursday that the president-elect’s inaugural planners and the transit agency were working on designing special sleeves to carry the inaugural SmarTrip cards, WTOP Radio reported Thursday

“Metro spokesman Dan Stessel confirmed to WTOP the transit agency is working with Trump’s inaugural committee to design the protective sleeves, using the special pope covers as a template,” said the Washington, D.C. news station.

“It’s not often that we do commemorative items,” a Metro spokeswoman told CNSNews.com in January 2009. “It’s just very special major events that we anticipate a large public interest in.”

CNSNews noted at the time that Bill Clinton was also honored with a special commemorative Metro fare card, while Republican George W. Bush never was. Mr. Clinton’s signature, but not his image, were shown on fare cards commemorating his 1993 and 1997 inaugurations, according to WTOP.

Metro sales of the commemorative cards began Wednesday. Officials urge those planning to attend the Jan. 20 swearing-in ceremony to buy their cards in advance for $10.

“Our goal is to get as many Commemorative Cards into circulation as possible among our Inauguration Day guests so they can skip the lines and head right for the train or bus,” the Metro news release quoted Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld as saying. “We encourage everyone coming to the National Mall to purchase theirs in advance.”

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

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