The Washington, D.C. Metro transportation system says it will test new electronic fare equipment after completing a deal with Accenture to replace older systems.
The $184 million contract covers systems for Metrorail, Metro-operated parking garages, Metrobus and MetroAccess services, Metro announced this week.
Passengers will continue to use their SmarTrip cards, but the new system will also accept payment through chip-enabled credit cards, federal government ID cards and mobile phones with Near Field Communication technology.
While Metro pioneered the tap-and-go system we currently use, by todays standards that system is cumbersome and the technology is not sustainable, Metro general manager and CEO Richard Sarles states in the release.
Accenture has implemented similar open-loop technology with its fare management software in Canada and the Netherlands, Metro says.
Accenture will support a pilot program later this year, Metro says. Initially, 2,000 commuters selected to participate in the test will use the new equipment at 10 Metrorail stations, 50 Metrobuses and two parking lots.
On the buses, MetroAccess customers will use a new reader to tap for payment with a smartphone or a customer ID card.
When the system is fully in place, Metro will have 1,000 new fare gates, 450 fare vending machines, 1,500 bus payment readers and 160 payment readers at parking facility exit lanes, Metro says.
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Corrected January 13, 2014 at 2:25PM: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about Accenture's ownership.