The Metrocard has become a staple for tourists and locals who use the subway system of NYC. The gold card will soon be gone and replaced with modern technology that will allow for “paperless” rides. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board took the first steps in doing away with the card and moving towards the “tap”, similar to what is used in the transit system in London.
The board of the MTA voted unanimously to offer $573 million to contract Cubic Transportation Systems to update their payment system. CTS is the same company that created the original MetroCard and London’s Oyster card system. This $673 million contract will give New York City citizens the most current payment technology in public transportation. With so many paying for their coffee with apps like Apple Pay, it only makes sense to also pay paperless when catching the subway. Not only will the investment do away with the MetroCard completely by 2023, the MetroCard system has become costly to manage.
The process of implementing this new technology is set up in five phases. The first phases will include allowing transit passengers to tap their way by using their bank card or smartphone on hundreds of turnstiles and buses. This will allow for a “soft opening” before completely doing out with MetroCards. By 2020, all forms of public transportation, subways, and buses, will have the new technology built into their boarding process. The MTA will release its own tap card to the public in 2021.
Change can be annoying but this will be for the better, for everyone. You will not have to worry about grabbing a MetroCard because you can pull it up on your phone in seconds. Nobody will be confused about which way the MetroCard should be inserted (We are looking at you, tourists). Even the advantages of not cleaning the turnstiles will greatly benefit employees of the transit system. As well, those who ride public transit can create their out “transit accounts” and add as much money as they would like into their account. This advantage will allow individuals to check their ride history, check account balances, and report lost or stolen cards.
Overall, this update is designed to speed the process of boarding public transit faster and with as little complications as possible. Even down to not creating so much waste from disposed cards will also greatly benefit the cleanliness of the subway.