WMATA photograph by Larry Levine
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) is seeking a business partner to help develop the next generation of electronic fare payment to create more options for customers, make using the transit system easier and encourage new ridership.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) issued on Thursday is the first step in a process to identify a vendor to assist Metro in developing a fare system designed to process payments directly at the gate using technology like contactless, chip-enabled debit and credit cards, which banks are already distributing to customers; federal identification cards; or smart phones equipped with near-field communication capability; as well as existing SmarTrip cards, according to the agency.
The current SmarTrip system will remain in operation until a new system is developed and Metro will solicit significant customer input into the design of the new system to ensure all customers are served, whether they are frequent or occasional riders.
The RFP contemplates new and rehabilitated gate hardware and new fare payment targets onboard the bus fleet. Web-enabled services, SMS texting and mobile applications will be enhanced to provide additional information and convenience for customers traveling throughout the region in both peak and off-peak periods, according to Metro.