D.C. Metro Scraps Plan for High-Tech Fare-Paying System

Under the $150 million system, riders would have been able to pay fares simply by waving their smartphones or credit cards.

by The Washington Post / April 15, 2016

After spending $25 million to design and test a new, high-tech fare-paying system for train and bus passengers, Metro said Thursday that it has abandoned the program because the public’s response to it has been tepid.

“The market isn’t there,” General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said in announcing that Metro has scrapped a plan to install hundreds of subway fare gates and bus fare boxes with “near field communication,” or NFC, technology. Riders would have been able to pay fares simply by waving NFC-ready smartphones or credit cards.
Going forward with the project to build and install the gates and fare boxes would have cost an additional $150 million, according to Wiedefeld, who said he has terminated a contract for the work, awarded in 2014 to Accenture, a technology company.
The contract is the largest one to be killed by Wiedefeld since he took charge of Metro in late November, with a mission to straighten out the agency’s finances and refocus its spending on immediate, safety-related problems, of which there are many.

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