MTA delays smart cards but takes plastic
The Maryland Transit Administration has delayed its plans to introduce "smart card" technology for payment of fares for about six months -- pushing its goal to next fall.
The agency had previously estimated that it would introduce the smart cards -- which allow riders to store value on the cards and speed up payments -- this winter. But MTA spokeswoman Jawauna Greene said the agency had decided it needed to conduct additional beta testing on the bus and light rail systems after finishing such tests on the Metro subway.
"We're going to give you the best product we can when it's ready," she said.
Giving its passengers a kind of consolation prize, the MTA also announced Tuesday it has equipped its subway stations with payment machines that now take credit cards as well as cash. The MTA said the machines will accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
The agency also said it expects to have all its light rail stations ready to take credit cards within the next 90 days.