To enable mobile payments, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is working with its fare payment vendor to upgrade its payment capabilities. WMATA seeks to be “mobile ready” by 2019, the agency said in a statement.
“Mobile fare payment is the future of transit, giving customers the ability simply to tap their phone and go, all without stopping at a fare vending machine or using a separate card,” Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a statement. “Not only will this be a better, easier experience, but will cost less to operate.”
Through a new fare payment platform, customers will eventually be able to tap their mobile devices to pay at WMATA’s faregates. In addition, the agency is working on a new fare payment app. Through the app, customers will be able to add funds to their fare cards through an auto-reload feature. By 2019, the agency plans to have the mobile fare payment upgrades completed and have a platform in place that will support multiple payment providers.
The news comes as Google enters the transportation industry with Google Pay, announcing news that consumers can now pay for tickets for a ride on the Las Vegas Monorail from their mobile devices. In a blog post, Group Product Manager, Google Pay, Prakash Hariramani said the Las Vegas Monorail is already powered by NXP’s MIFARE contactless technology, enabling it to accept digital payments for tickets. With the new service, Hariramani said customers can purchase their tickets online, save them to Google Pay and use their phone to ride without needing to open the Google Pay app.
“The Las Vegas Monorail is the first transit agency where you can use prepaid tickets or passes with Google Pay instead of a credit or debit card, and it’s coming to more cities soon,” Hariramani wrote in the post. “Once you’ve saved your ticket, you’ll find info in the app to guide you along your journey — you can see recent transactions, trips or the location of the nearest monorail station.”