This service will allow riders to use smartphones to pay for their fares to ride public transit.
Metro, the public transit in Washington D.C. has announced that it is planning a test for a new mobile ticketing technology system that will begin early next year, which will give riders the ability to use their smartphones and other mobile devices to be able to pay for their trips.
This pilot program will be compatible with newer generations of smartphones with specific contactless tech.
The mobile ticketing program will work with NFC technology enabled credit and debit cards, smartphones, Federal ID cards, and other devices. The first wave will be launched at 10 Metrorail stations, as well as on 6 Metrobus routes, in addition to 2 parking facilities. This will be rolled out in January, according to the official announcement from Metro.
The mobile ticketing technology is being created to one day replace fare cards such as SmartTrips.
That said, while this mobile payments program for digital fares will one day replace the cards, Metro has stated that it will likely take a few years for that to fully occur. Metro will be installing brand new fare gates and the other various types of equipment that will be needed to test out the tech, starting in October. Customers that will be participating in the pilot phase of this program will be recruited during upcoming weeks.
Participating in the pilot phase will be the following 10 Metrorail stations: Suitland, Navy Yard, Farragut West, Gallery Place (7th and F), Ballston, Pentagon, Pentagon City, Bethesda, Eisenhower Avenue, and Shady Grove. Furthermore, the Suitland and Shady Grove parking facilities will also be a part of this testing phase.
The 6 Metrobus routes that will be accepting fares through mobile ticketing will be 37 (Wisconsin Avenue Limited), 39 (Pennsylvania Avenue Limited), J4 (College Park – Bethesda Limited), K9 (New Hampshire Avenue Limited), X9 (Benning Road – H Street Limited), and REX (Richmond Highway Express). The initial phase will be available only to specific riders who have been recruited for the pilot digital fare program and not for the public, quite yet.