November 9, 2022

MTA celebrates Dolly Parton’s new album with limited-edition MetroCard

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has released a limited-edition Dolly Parton MetroCard in celebration of the legendary country singer's new greatest hits album. In partnership with Legacy Recordings and Dolly Records, the MTA has loaded MetroCard vending machines with 50,000 limited edition cards at four high-traffic stations in Manhattan.
How to score one
June 13, 2019

MTA rolls out rainbow MetroCards and train decals for Pride month

The Federal government may be banning Pride flags at U.S. embassies, but here in New York, our city agencies are prouder than ever to show off the rainbow. The latest initiative comes from the MTA, who has revealed a special set of Pride MetroCards, along with Pride-themed Transit merchandise and a new Pride logo on select subway cars. All of the festive additions mark not only World Pride being hosted in NYC this year but the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
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May 31, 2019

MTA’s new tap-to-pay system begins replacing MetroCards today

Before you get too distraught--you'll still be able to swipe (and "swipe again") your MetroCard until 2023. But for those techier New Yorkers, as of noon today, you'll be able to take advantage of the MTA's new tap-to-pay fare system when a pilot launches at 16 Manhattan and Brooklyn subway stations on the 4, 5, and 6 lines between Grand Central-42nd Street and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, as well as all Staten Island buses. The new payment system, called OMNY (One Metro New York), will employ e-readers that can accept contactless credit, debit, or reloadable prepaid cards, along with digital wallet apps on mobile phones and wearables. Additionally, Google announced that they've teamed up with the MTA to enable Google Pay as a payment option.
May 20, 2019

MTA proposes full-fare MetroCards for NYC students

"This is a common-sense policy that makes it easier for kids to get to school and does away with needless complexities that have existed for too long," said NYC Transit President Andy Byford in response to the MTA's proposal to replace half-price student MetroCards will full-fare options for students. The MTA Board is expected to vote on the proposal on Wednesday, which would grant K-12 students who live at least a half mile from their school three-trip, full-fare student MetroCards.
March 5, 2019

City will expand Fair Fares program to all eligible New Yorkers by 2020

After facing criticism for the delayed and limited roll-out of Fair Fares, Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Johnson have announced plans to expand the program. Starting this fall, eligible New Yorkers in NYCHA, enrolled students at CUNY, and military veterans below the poverty line will have access to the program, which provides half-priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers. By January 2020, open enrollment will expand to all New Yorkers at or below the federal poverty line (a household income of $25,750 for a family of four). The program has also been criticized for its reversal on reduced fares for single trips, but Monday's announcement came with the good news that a pay-per-ride option will be available by mid-March.
January 4, 2019

Four days late, de Blasio launches Fair Fares program with some caveats

After facing sharp criticism this week from almost all New York media outlets for missing the January 1st start date of Fair Fares, Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson held a press conference this afternoon to officially launch the program. As of now, the joint initiative will provide half-priced MetroCards to approximately 30,000 low-income New Yorkers who are receiving cash assistance benefits from the Department of Social Services. In April, an estimated additional 130,000 New Yorkers receiving SNAP benefits will be able to apply. But as the Daily News' City Hall bureau chief Jill Jorgensen mentioned on Twitter, limiting the program to these two groups means that no undocumented residents are eligible to apply.
More details here
January 3, 2019

With no details from de Blasio, Fair Fares pilot program misses Jan. 1 start date

A program to provide discounted MetroCards to low-income New Yorkers missed its target start date of Jan. 1, and the city has not provided any concrete details on its rollout, amNY reported Wednesday. The Fair Fares pilot program, which was agreed upon in June by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, would provide half-price MetroCards for those who fall below the federal poverty line. One day after the original launch date passed, the mayor on Wednesday told reporters that more information on how to apply for the program will be provided "in literally just a few days."
More on the Fair Fares flop
December 4, 2018

Limited-edition ‘Game of Thrones’ MetroCards launch today at Grand Central

After a slight delay, limited edition "Game of Thrones"-themed MetroCards will be available starting today at Grand Central Terminal. The MetroCards are part of a larger #ForTheThrone campaign in anticipation of the series' final season debuting sometime in April 2019. The MTA partnered with HBO for the "Game of Thrones" takeover at Grand Central, which includes more than 150 promotional posters that will remain at the station through Dec. 23, as Gothamist reported.
Get the details
November 16, 2018

Service cuts and fare hikes proposed as MTA faces major budget crisis

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in July said it would face a budget gap of $634 million in 2022. Turns out, it will actually be much worse than that. The transit authority on Thursday rolled out its proposed 2019 budget and four-year financial plan, which now projects the budget deficit to climb to a staggering $991 million in four years. With this major budget crisis brewing, the MTA announced two new options for fare and toll increases in 2019 and possible service cuts, all while service deteriorates and ridership drops (h/t WSJ).
More on the fare hike here
June 14, 2018

The slow death of the MetroCard begins next spring

It’s the end of an era but one that might not be too sentimental. As of May 2019, the MTA is launching its new fare payment method for the 4, 5, and 6 lines and all bus routes on Staten Island, reports amNY. No more steel bars karate chopping your abdomen when you realize your MetroCard is out of credit. Starting next spring, riders can use credit cards, mobile phones, smart watches, and mobile wallets to travel... but you'll still be able to swipe your old MetroCard until 2023.
June 12, 2018

Approved $89B NYC budget includes discounted transit fares for low-income riders

Mayor Bill de Blasio reached an agreement with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on a new city budget, the New York Times reports. The $89.2 billion budget includes funding for discounted MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers. 6sqft reported last week on the deal struck between the mayor and the city council to provide about $100 million to fund the program. Johnson has been a tenacious and vocal supporter of the Fair Fares program, in which the city will subsidize the cost of providing half-price MetroCards to New Yorkers who fall below the federal poverty line, or a household income of $25,000 for a family of four. Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers could benefit from the discounted fares. The initial allocation in the budget will pay for six months of the program beginning in January, with further financing will be forthcoming in future budgets.
Find out more about Fair Fares
June 8, 2018

Deal struck to fund discounted MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers

Image by Ged Carroll on Flickr Reduced-fare MetroCards may soon become a reality for low-income straphangers, as Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council have reached a deal Wednesday to provide roughly $100 million in funding to the program. The mayor's agreement with Speaker Corey Johnson, who has been one of the most vocal supporters of a Fair Fares program, means the city would fully subsidize the cost of providing half-price MetroCards to New Yorkers who fall below the federal poverty line, or a household income of $25,000 for a family of four. Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers could benefit from the discounted fares. Under the tentative deal, the city would allocate $106 million in its upcoming budget, which would pay for six months of the program beginning in January, according to the New York Times.
Find out more
April 18, 2018

In partnership with Spotify, MTA releases limited number of David Bowie MetroCards

Starting Wednesday, about 250,000 lucky commuters will be able to fly away with "Tickets to Mars," a keepsake MetroCard released by Spotify as part of its David Bowie subway takeover. The limited-edition cards feature five iconic images of the music legend from the new exhibit honoring Bowie's life at the Brooklyn Museum. The MTA stocked booths and vending machines only at Broadway-Lafayette and Bleecker Street with the special cards, and they will be randomly dispersed. Additionally, Spotify is giving New Yorkers an immersive, underground subway experience with lots of wall-sized Bowie-inspired art and special codes to listen to Bowie through the streaming service.
Get the details
February 28, 2018

The end of the MetroCard could mean fare capping, better bus boarding, and real-time data

The MTA’s new cardless fare system will completely phase out the MetroCard by 2023, and transit advocates from the TransitCenter and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign believe there's more to gain here than strictly streamlining the swiping process. In a report released this week titled "A New Way to Ride," the groups outline three main policy opportunities available through the new fare system--seamless bus boarding, fare capping, and enhanced service information--all of which have been implemented in other cities with similar payment technology.
All the details ahead
November 8, 2017

The history of the New York City MetroCard

No New Yorker's life is complete without a MetroCard slipped into their wallet. For $2.75, it'll get you from Brooklyn to the Bronx, and everywhere in between. But the lifespan of the MetroCard is perhaps shorter than you might think--the flimsy plastic card, complete with the Automated Fare Collection turnstiles, only became an everyday part of subway commuting in 1993. And in recent years, all signs point to the card becoming extinct. The testing phase of a mobile device scanning and payment system began this fall with plans to roll out a fully cardless system by 2020. And so in honor of the MetroCard's brief lifespan as an essential commuter tool, 6sqft is delving into its history, iconic design, and the frustrations that come when that swipe just doesn't go through.
October 26, 2017

MTA approves $574M MetroCard-replacing e-readers; new video and renderings

Cubic, the San Diego-based company who was awarded the job of creating the MTA's new cardless fare system, has just announced that the $539.5 million contract award (with additional options worth $33.9 million) has been approved by a vote of the MTA Board. As 6sqft previously reported, Cubic is the same company that developed the MetroCards that replaced subway tokens over 30 years ago. The new MTA system is modeled on the one that has been in use in London’s Underground and commuter railroads.
See the new fare payment system in action
October 23, 2017

MTA’s new cardless fare system will be rolled out by 2020

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.
Find out more
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October 9, 2017

MTA begins testing of new subway fare system, first step to phasing out MetroCards

With the goal of eventually phasing out the use of MetroCards in the New York City subway system, the MTA has begun the testing phase of a mobile device scanning and payment system. Untapped Cities reports that the first trials of a new mobile fare system are being installed at points where Metro-North commuters transfer to the subway, as an expansion of the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road's eTix app. At specific stations, riders can make the transfer with turnstiles fitted with scanners that allow them to swipe their phones. The new turnstiles have already been installed in the Bowling Green and Wall Street Stations in lower Manhattan for a test run; the expansion is a pilot for the eventual phasing out of MetroCards altogether.
Find out when and where you can try out the new system
August 7, 2017

De Blasio wants to tax rich New Yorkers to fund subway repairs

Continuing this summer’s subway saga, Mayor de Blasio announced a plan on Sunday that would tax the wealthiest 1 percent of New Yorkers to fund the system’s much-need repairs and renovations. The proposal, which requires Albany’s approval, would also provide half-price MetroCards for low-income straphangers. As the New York Times reported, the “millionaires tax” would increase the tax rate of the city’s wealthiest residents to 4.4 percent from roughly 3.9 percent for married couples with incomes over $1 million and for individuals who make more than $500,000 annually.
Find out more
March 23, 2017

The least affordable U.S. city for public transit isn’t NYC (and more fun facts about the cost of commuting)

In light of NYC's recent subway fare hike that bumped the price of a monthly pass to $121, the data jocks at ValuePenguin took a look at public transportation systems throughout the U.S. and ranked them according to affordability, based on the cost of a pass as a percentage of income and the median income of the city's commuters. Among the findings: New York City's transit system isn't the most unaffordable; that honor goes to Los Angeles. Washington D.C. topped the most affordable list among large cities, followed by San Francisco and Boston.
Read on for more insight on the cost of a commute
January 25, 2017

MTA approves fare hike, monthly MetroCard will increase to $121

This morning MTA officials voted in favor of a subway and bus fare hike, which will go into effect March 19, writes The Times. The transit agency opted not to increase per-ride costs to $3, as previously floated, but to instead up monthly and weekly MetroCard prices from $116.50 and $31 to $121 and $32, respectively. Moreover, although the base price of a ride will not see an increase, there will be a decrease in the "bonus" riders get when they add money to their cards. This will drop from 11 percent to just 5 percent.
find out more here
January 20, 2017

MTA backs plan to raise subway and bus fare to $3 come March

At a board meeting over the summer, the MTA began discussions about increasing subway and bus fare to $3 by 2017 "in an effort to raise more than $300 million annually," as 6sqft reported at the time. The Daily News has now learned that the agency will officially recommend the four-percent increase at their board meeting next week. Though they'll be passing on another option that would've kept fares at $2.75, the hike will increase the bonuses that come with re-loading one's MetroCard from 11 to 16 percent, "an extra 96 cents for every $6 purchase."
Find out more
April 13, 2016

POLL: Will You Miss the MetroCard Swipe?

The ye-olde MetroCard swipe has made national headlines in recent weeks, thanks to Hilary Clinton’s inability to get through the turnstile and Bernie Sanders’ belief that we’re still in the dark ages using subway tokens. The fact that these snafus are so attention-grabbing goes to show how intrinsic the simple act of swiping a MetroCard is […]

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