NYC Plans to Ditch MetroCard in Effort to Modernize Public Transportation System

Oct 23, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.      

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According to The New York Times, the MTA is expected to approve a $573 million contract, which will replace the outdated paper MetroCards.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.

2020 TPG Award Winner: Premium Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Reserve

SIGN-UP BONUS: 50,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on all travel and dining, $300 annual travel credit, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners.

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • New Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back(SM), your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority PassTM Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.