WASHINGTON (AP) — Metro is taking a step toward replacing SmarTrip with a new electronic fare payment system.

The transit agency issued a request for proposals Thursday seeking a vendor to help develop the new system.

Metro says it wants a system that will process payments at the gate using technology like contactless, chip-enabled debit and credit cards, federal identification cards or smart phones with near-field communication capability and existing SmarTrip cards.

SmarTrip began nearly 12 years ago and has 1.8 million cards in use. However, the cards are no longer being manufactured and Metro has estimated that its supply will only last two years.

SmarTrip will stay in operation until the new system is in place, and the new system will allow for the use of SmarTrip cards.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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