DC metro to update SmarTrip system, rail cars

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will roll out safer, more comfortable railcars to improve service in a few months.

The modern 7000-series rail cars will feature wider aisles and larger seats to provide room for 40 more riders, as well as LCD maps and automated stop announcements, according to a Jan. 6 WMATA press release. To accommodate national safety standards, the new stainless steel cars are constructed to absorb the maximum amount of energy in event of collisions and will use a new digital surveillance system.

The first cars will roll out later this year and will make up half of the railcar fleet by 2018, according to the press release.

WMATA also announced updates to the SmarTrip system to make adding value easier for customers earlier this month.

Accenture, a technology outsourcing company, will build new fare gates in 10 metro stations and 50 Metrobuses later this year as part of a pilot program that allows customers to pay with chip-embedded credit cards, federal government ID cards and cell phones in addition to traditional SmarTrip cards.

New fare vending machines will also have larger displays and read in different languages, according to WMATA. WMATA hopes to phase out all paper tickets as they transition to the improved payment system.

lsandoval@theeagleonline.com

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