Metro riders: You’re one step closer to being able to swipe through turnstiles with your credit card, ID, or phone. The Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority just announced that it’s awarded a $184 million contract to the technology and consulting firm Accenture to replace the fare collection systems for Metro’s rail, bus, parking, and van facilities.
The new system, according to WMATA, will be equipped to accept chip-enabled credit cards, federal government IDs, and cell phones for fare payment, as well as SmarTrip cards.
“While Metro pioneered the tap and go system we currently use, by today’s standards that system is cumbersome and the technology is not sustainable,” said Metro General Manager Richard Sarles in a statement. “The new technology will provide more flexibility for accounts, better reliability for riders, and real choices for customers to use bank-issued payment cards, credit cards, ID cards, or mobile phones to pay their Metro fares.”
The award to Accenture came after a “competitive procurement process that included an examination of the technical capabilities of the shortlisted companies and their proposals, historical performance, and value for money,” according to a WMATA press release.
Accenture will conduct a pilot program of the new system later this year in 10 Metro stations, on 50 Metrobuses, and in two Metro parking lots. Two thousand Metro riders will be selected to test the new system.
The new fare payment system, when fully installed, will no longer accept paper farecards, which fewer than one in 10 Metro riders currently use, according to WMATA.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery