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WMATA to install cashless payment system at all parking lots

By June 28, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) expects to convert all of its parking lots to SmarTrip-only payment systems.

The decision to switch to the cashless payment system came after an internal audit of WMATA parking operations revealed suspected revenue shortfalls. Parking lot operator Penn Parking employees are suspected of pocketing some cash parking fares, according to a prepared statement. The smart-card payment system will eliminate parking lot cashiers.

WMATA plans to install SmarTrip dispensing machines in parking garages prior to changing to the cashless system. Seventy-one percent of WMATA customers who use parking lots already pay with SmarTrip cards.

The authority also plans to increase all lots’ payment hours. Currently, customers must pay if they exit parking lots between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. Under the new plan, payment hours will be extended from 9 a.m. to close Monday through Friday. Additional payment hours are expected to generate an additional $2.5 million for the fiscal-year 2005 operating budget.

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More News from 3/22/2004