System to support the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority multi-agency electronic fare payment card cost approximately $25.5 million.

February 2004
Washington,District of Columbia,United States

Summary Information

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) received funding for a FY 2000 ITS Integration Program project to establish a Regional Customer Service Center (RCSC). The purpose of the RCSC is to perform multiple management, distribution and reconciliation tasks to support the SmarTrip® contactless smart card. Since its introduction in early 1999, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) SmarTrip® card has achieved significant market penetration for use in the WMATA Metrorail system and associated parking facilities. This initial success has established the foundation for implementation of a regional fare collection system. The next step will be the expansion to WMATA's bus system which, like the rail system, operates in Washington, DC and surrounding counties in Virginia and Maryland. The contract to accomplish this has been expanded to include commuter buses, and light and heavy rail systems. With the deployment of this multi-agency use of the SmarTrip® card comes an extensive requirement to manage the distribution, provide customer service and conduct transaction reconciliation for the participating agencies. The RCSC will link the various fare collection systems into a single reporting and management complex.

The total capital cost of the project is $25.537 million with an estimated annual operating & maintenance (O&M) cost of $3.45 million. The table below provides a breakdown of the project cost components. All costs include project management and overhead. The Regional Customer Service Center (RCSC) component costs are in 2002 dollars and all other costs are in 2003 dollars.

SmarTrip® RSCS Component
Lifetime (years)
Capital Cost ($M)
O&M Cost ($M/year)
Regional Customer Service Center (RCSC)
Data Network Concentrator (DNC)
Point of Sale Network and Devices (POS)
Included in RCSC
Upgrade of Existing System
System Enhancements

The cost for the Regional Customer Service Center (RCSC) includes contracted service for customer service, card management, transaction clearing & settlement, and management of point-of-sale (POS) network to include sixteen participating transit agencies in the Washington-Baltimore area. The base contract covers one year of startup and four years of operation with two 1-year options. The O&M costs are estimated annual costs for all 16 agencies.

The Data Network Concentrator (DNC) includes a central database which collects transaction data from partner agencies and POS network, and forwards to the RCSC for processing. The DNC receives data from RCSC (e.g.,transaction reports, autoload instructions) and forwards to Agencies/POS network. The cost for the DNC includes the central database system.

The cost for the Point of Sale Network and Devices (POS) includes devices for adding value to smart cards at transit stores and retail sales outlets. The POS provides credit/debit capability. Networked POS devices send transaction data and receive instructions from the DNC. A proprietary card-to-reader interface is necessary to operate with the legacy SmarTrip® system, but the system is upgradeable to International Standards Organization (ISO)-compliant card. The cost includes 500 devices. The POS O&M cost is included in the RCSC O&M cost.

The cost for the Upgrade of Existing System Software includes the changes required to upgrade older generation legacy rail smart card system with flexibility and capability of new generation fare collection system procured (separately) for WMATA buses and 16 regional partner systems.

System Enhancements cost includes software for system enhancements, principally automatic loading at bus fare box or rail fare gate of preauthorized value-adds.

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Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) SmarTrip® Regional Customer Service Center

Published By: ITS Joint Program Office, U.S. DOT

Source Date: February 2004

System Cost

Total capital cost: $25.537 million (2002-2003).

Annual O&M cost: $3.45 million (2002-2003).


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Cost ID: 2004-00073