Transit Systems in Washington D.C., Chicago Testing NFC Payments (Jan. 15, 2014)
Contactless transit payment is coming to the nation’s capital. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is the latest U.S. public transit system to plan an upgrade of its fare payment system, eventually accepting NFC mobile payments, EMV payment cards and federal government ID cards. Accenture won a $184 million for the project, which will begin with a pilot later this year at 10 Washington D.C.-area Metro rail stations, 50 buses and two parking lots. The pilot will include around 200 Metro riders, the transit authority said in an announcement.
Washington D.C.’s move will widen transit riders’ payment options from the existing contactless reloadable closed-loop SmarTrip cards to include a range of choices, such as bank-issued payment cards, credit cards and mobile phones for paying fares, according to Richard Sarles, transit authority’s general manager and CEO. No date was provided for the system’s full rollout, but full deployment could take several years. Eventually Washington Metro will phase out all paper tickets as part of the upgrade, the agency said.
Separately, the Chicago Transit Authority confirmed it’s testing an NFC mobile ticketing solution for riders of trains and buses using its Ventra mobile payment system. Ventra, a partnership between Cubic Transportation Systems Inc., MasterCard and Money Network, a First Data company, enables riders to pay for transit using contactless payment cards, as well as the reloadable Ventra prepaid debit card or cash.