Metro today announced that the Authority will begin testing a new electronic payment program after awarding Accenture (NYSE:ACN) the contract to replace the existing fare collection systems for Metrorail, Metro-operated parking facilities, Metrobus and MetroAccess services.
The $184 million contract was awarded on a best value basis, following a competitive procurement process that included an examination of the technical capabilities of the shortlisted companies and their proposals, historical performance, and value for money.
The new system will be designed to provide a state of the art system for Metro customers that enables them to continue to use SmarTrip cards, while expanding fare payment to chip-enabled credit cards, federal government ID cards, and mobile phones using near field communications (NFC).
“While Metro pioneered the tap and go system we currently use, by today’s standards that system is cumbersome and the technology is not sustainable,” said Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles. “The new technology will provide more flexibility for accounts, better reliability for riders, and real choices for customers to use bank-issued payment cards, credit cards, ID cards, or mobile phones to pay their Metro fares.”Washington Metro will be among the first transit systems in the United States to use this advanced technology to enhance reliability, and make travel more convenient for riders. Accenture will help deliver the electronic fare management system by combining its transit experience with industry and functional management consulting expertise in mobility, analytics, customer service, payments, financial services, retail and marketing science. Accenture has successfully implemented similar technology in Canada and the Netherlands. “Consumers want to see new payment approaches that enable choice and are easy for them to adopt, whether it be contactless payment cards, mobile phone or even today’s SmarTrip card,” said Paul Loftus, Senior Managing Director at Accenture. “We are pleased to be helping Metro meet customers’ current and future fare management needs.”