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Metro to Pilot Pay-by-Phone, -Credit Card Fare System

Metro plans to overhaul its current trip payment system with new technologies.

Metro could move to a new payment system for Metrorail and Metrobus, WMATA recently announced. Photo: Tiffany Arnold | PATCH
Metro could move to a new payment system for Metrorail and Metrobus, WMATA recently announced. Photo: Tiffany Arnold | PATCH

By Laura L Thornton 

Ever thought you'd see the day when you could pay for your Metro ride with a phone?

That day might not be too far off. Metro announced Wednesday that it will pilot a program later this year to test a new system of payment for riding on Metrorail and on Metrobuses, WMATA announced.

Metro recently awarded the company Accenture (NYSE: ACN) a contract to replace the existing fare collection systems for Metrorail, Metro-operated parking facilities, Metrobus and MetroAccess services with an electronic fare payment system, Metro reported.

According to Metro’s website:


"The new system will be designed to provide a state-of-the-art system for Metro customers that enables them to continue to use SmarTrip cards, while expanding fare payment to chip-enabled credit cards, federal government ID cards and mobile phones using 'near field' communications."

A program later this year will test the new system in 10 Metrorail stations, on 50 Metrobuses and in two parking lots. Also, 2,000 Metro riders will be selected to participate in the pilot program to test the performance and reliability of the new system.

The new system will not accept paper tickets and Metro will continue the gradual phasing out of paper fare cards. Fewer than one in 10 Metrorail riders pay for a trip with a paper farecard, according to Metro.

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