New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will start installing new card readers in subway stations and buses throughout the city starting next year, according to The New York Times.
With the new card readers come a new way to enter NYC’s subway system and pay for fares: A contactless card, smartphone, or even your bank card.
The new card readers will be similar to those in London’s subway system. Instead of swiping the MTA’s signature yellow MetroCard through a card swiper, NYC subway riders will simply wave a card, smartphone, or compatible bank card over a clearly indicated pad on top of the new card readers. You can see how it works in the video below:
— Cubic Transportation (@CubicTS) August 5, 2016
Apart from adding a splash of modernity to an aging subway system, the new system will avoid issues like misread card swipes, as issue that NYC subway riders know all too well. Hillary Clinton famously struggled with this issue during her presidential election campaign in 2016.
Oh man. It took Hillary five swipes. Welcome to the struggle https://t.co/3RGrZVUeVc
— Brett LoGiurato (@BrettLoGiurato) April 7, 2016
It’ll also allow subway riders to consolidate their subway fare payments into an existing medium, like their smartphones or a compatible contactless bank card with built-in near-field-communication (NFC) technology.
While the new card readers will begin to appear in subway stations in late 2018, subway riders will still be able to use their old MetroCards, as well as the new methods. It won’t be until 2023 when the MetroCard will be phased out entirely and replaced by the new methods. The old card readers aren’t expected to be fully upgraded in every station in NYC until late 2020.
The new system will also be used on MTA buses, as well as the Metro-North and Long Island commuter-railroad systems.
The transit authority’s chairman Joseph Lhota said the fare structure will remain the same, and won’t be based on distance or zoning like it is in the London Underground and Washington D.C., which also use a similar system.
The new card readers will come from Cubic Transportation Systems, which won the bid for a $573 million contract to update NYC’s subway fare payment system. Cubic Transportation Systems is the same company behind the current MetroCard, and is also the operator of London’s fare payment system.