Image: Phil Hollenback via Flickr.
6sqft previously reported on the launch of testing on a mobile device scanning and fare payment system with the goal of eventually phasing out the use of MetroCards in the New York City subway system. New turnstiles have already been installed in the Bowling Green and Wall Street Stations, where riders can make the transfer using scanners that allow them to swipe their phones. According to the New York Times, a rollout of the new fare system citywide is not far off: The new readers will hit 500 subway turnstiles and 600 bus fare boxes starting in late 2018; the remainder of subway stations and buses will have them by late 2020.
It is anticipated that on Monday, the finance committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will approve a $573 million contract for a new fare payment system. If approved, the plan will head to the agency’s board for a vote on Wednesday.
The new system is modeled on the one that has been in use in London’s Underground and commuter railroads; Cubic, the same company that designed the London system–the company also developed MetroCards over 30 years ago–will be designing the new MTA system.
The system will allow riders to pay with apps like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay as well as credit or debit cards with embedded chips. Another potential advantage of the new system: Fare readers can be installed by back doors on buses, allowing for all-door boarding to reduce waiting time.
Though the new fare system will replace the MetroCard, the cards won’t be completely phased out until 2023, so passengers have their choice of using the old MetroCard system or the new one. Fares for the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North commuter lines will also use the new system. MTA chairman Joseph J. Lhota said, “It’s the next step in bringing us into the 21st century, which we need to do. It’s going to be transformative.”
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