Metro eventually wants all passengers to be able to pay their rail or bus fares with their smartphones. But before that happens, it’s looking for people to participate in a pilot program to test out its new payment system.

Metro announced today that it has started recruiting up to 3,000 riders to participate in the pilot program, which will begin in January.

Riders selected to test the new electronic payment system will use transit cards, contactless bankcards, or mobile wallets on their smartphones to ride Metrorail, buses, and pay for parking at certain parking locations. For the pilot program, Metro will install “new generation” fare gates and payment devices at 10 Metro stations and six bus routes.

These Metro stations are:

  • Ballston, Bethesda, Eisenhower Ave, Farragut West, Gallery Place, Navy Yard, Pentagon, Pentagon City, Shady Grove, Suitland

Bus routes:

  • 37, 39, J4, K9, X9, REX


  • Shady Grove, Suitland

People who regularly travel between these locations will be eligible to apply. You can apply to be a part of the pilot program here. If it’s successful, Metro says all the system’s fare gates and machines will be replaced in 2017.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery.