WMATA completes first new faregate installation

Aug. 25, 2021
The new faregates at Potomac Avenue and Federal Center SW are the first in a systemwide replacement project aimed at easing access to the Metrorail system.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has completed installation of new faregates at the Potomac Avenue and Federal Center SW Metrorail stations. The new faregates are the first of a systemwide initiative to replace and upgrade aging faregate technology.

WMATA will replace all 1,200 faregates at its 91 existing stations and six new stations to maintain a state of good repair and improve the customer experience. The authority says the new faregates allow for quicker and easier access to the Metrorail system, feature larger displays and include enhanced safety features such as improved motion sensors.

Work to replace the gates is occurring during non-business hours and involves removing the old faregates, running new cables, upgrading power infrastructure where necessary and installing new kiosk equipment before the new faregates can be installed. WMATA says the new faregates undergo comprehensive testing prior to being put into service.

A pilot project began in June 2021 at six stations to help customers familiarize themselves with the new gates. WMATA is currently working to replace faregates at 13 additional stations with work expected to be completed at the Eastern Market and Forest Glen stations in the next week.

WMATA’s current faregates were installed in the 1990s when the authority’s original SmartTrip card was introduced. The new faregates will require the replacement of these first generation of smart cards, issued in 2012 or earlier, due to outdated chip technology.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.

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