NYC Plans to Ditch MetroCard in Effort to Modernize Public Transportation System
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The nation’s largest public transportation system is expected to get a major overhaul. New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will likely approve a new payment system, which will, in turn, make the current MetroCard a thing of the past.
According to The New York Times, the MTA is expected to approve a $573 million contract, which will replace the outdated paper MetroCards. Instead, the city’s subway and bus systems will adopt a more modern and convenient payment method — by waving their phone, credit or debit card at the turnstiles for subways and on the fareboxes for busses. The new system would be similar to what’s been used on the London Underground for years, and will also be used on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North systems.
If approved on Monday afternoon, the electronic readers will be installed beginning late next year on 500 subway turnstiles and 600 busses. By late 2020, the system will have reached the rest of the subway stations and busses in the MTA’s network. Even though the new technology will be completely implemented by late 2020, the MetroCard won’t be phased out completely until 2023.
The new system will be a huge improvement for riders, who will no longer have to swipe their MetroCard at a subway turnstile or when entering a bus. Instead, riders will be able to tap and go. In addition, the new system will be pay-as-you-go, rather than prepaying a selected amount up front. Some things will stay the same. Rather than adopting a distance-based fare system like London uses, Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the transit authority, said that he’s not contemplating changing the MTA’s flat-fare structure.
Of course, regardless of how the your payment for each ride is processed, the charge should still register the same. Using a credit card that will earn you the most on your travel purchases is the best choice, and that should remain true even when this new system is potentially implemented. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve will earn you 3x points on travel purchases, including those on public transportation.
Featured image by Anadolu Agency / Getty Images.
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