BALTIMORE, MD (October 6, 2021) The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) is modernizing the state’s transit system, and is launching a project to overhaul its entire fare collection system. Today’s approval of the $63.6 million project by the Maryland Board of Public Works enables MDOT MTA to begin implementing a next-generation fare system that will enhance both operational efficiency and the rider experience. Components of the new fare system will be phased-in beginning in 2023 and the system is anticipated to be fully operational by 2025. Upgrade of the system is a crucial investment in the agency’s state of good repair efforts, and reflects MDOT MTA’s commitment to implement a diverse and equitable range of fare payment options.
"MDOT MTA is excited to move forward with replacing our out-of-date fare collection system with new technology that will keep our transit in Maryland future-ready," said MDOT MTA Acting Administrator Holly Arnold. "When completed, this new fare collection system will enable even more seamless travel between all modes."
Using cutting-edge integration, the new fare system will give riders a better overall transit experience from start to finish. The system will allow immediate access to stored value and fare products loaded into an account – even for CharmCard users. It will support all-door boarding options on local bus service to reduce dwell times, speeding up travel across the region. The new system also supports fare capping functions – which can provide free upgrades to weekly or monthly passes after purchasing the equivalent amount in other fares.
"MTA's new fare collection system will greatly enhance service for our customers, providing expanded payment options and flexibility so riders can easily move across our network from bus to train to light rail to subway," said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. "We are committed to providing our riders with a safe, reliable and modern transit system, and approval of this fare collection system is a key step toward fulfilling that commitment."
An integral component of the fare system will be upgraded fare collection equipment. New faregates will be installed at Metro SubwayLink stations and new fare validators installed across core service modes will eliminate the need to visually validate fares. This upgrade gives customers the option to use their CharmCard, CharmPass, open payments with their credit or debit card, or use mobile payments with Apple Pay and Google Pay when riding transit. Cash will continue to be accepted at the new fareboxes and fares will be available for purchase through an expanded retail network.
For MDOT MTA operations, the new fare collection system will provide continuous monitoring for enhanced and more accurate revenue, ridership and data reporting. The project will improve customer service, reduce fare collection and repair costs, increase revenue and provide riders with more contactless payment options to help ensure a safer and more reliable transit experience.
The new fare system is also designed to support multiple agencies and, once MDOT MTA completes implementation, Maryland locally operated transit services could leverage the system to provide the new technology and features to their customers.
MDOT MTA is one of the largest multi-modal transit systems in the United States. MDOT MTA operates systems that include Local Bus, Commuter Bus, Light RailLink, Metro SubwayLink, MARC Train Service and a comprehensive Mobility paratransit network. MDOT MTA’s goal is to provide safe, efficient and reliable transit across Maryland with world-class customer service. As a participating agency in APTA’s Health and Safety Commitment Program, MDOT MTA is dedicated to keeping our employees and passengers safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more, visit mta.maryland.gov, check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/mtamaryland and follow us on Twitter @mtamaryland.