(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)
Metro is planning to make upgrades that will allow mobile payment to be introduced next year.
While SmarTrip cards won’t be completely replaced, the improvements will offer train and bus riders the option of paying via phone, according to WMATA.
One part of the plan is to introduce the new hardware at faregates, fare boxes and fare vending machines, that allows tapping a phone along with a card. WMATA is also developing an app that will allow for payment as well as the ability to manage a SmarTrip account and get service info. Payment will also be accepted through Apple Pay and Google Pay, but those services will have to make their own upgrades.
“Mobile fare payment is the future of transit, giving customers the ability simply to tap their phone and go, all without stopping at a fare vending machine or using a separate card,” Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a statement. “Not only will this be a better, easier experience, but will cost less to operate.”
The initial mobile payment upgrades are expected to be online sometime in 2019. In subsequent phases, Metro plans to install new faregates by 2020, then new vending machines with large touchscreens and more accessibility for people with disabilities.-30-
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