Words by Ime Ekpo
It looks like the Metropolitan Transit Authority is finally adapting to the 21st century by appealing to the evolution of neoteric technology, and finally modernizing the fare payment system and the signature New York City MetroCard will soon be extinct.
According to the New York Times, by the end of 2018, the New York City transit authority will adopt the ways of the London Underground and the London commuter railroads fare payment system by allowing riders direct use of their cellphones or credit and debit cards. Riders will pay their fares by simply waving their cells or credit and debit cards at the subway turnstiles or bus fare boxes.
An MTA committee recently backed a $573 million contract to install the new system. Reportedly, 600 buses and 500 subway turnstiles are expected to have the new electronic readers installed by late 2018. By the end of 2020, the entire New York City subway system and buses will have the electronic readers installed.
Don’t worry about your single rides, monthlies, and weeklies. There will be an online portal available where riders will have their own accounts, giving them access to making refills on their monthly and weekly rides. The new fare payment system will also work for the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North, which are commuter lines both ran by the MTA.
Where does this leave the future of MetroCards? The MetroCard is symbolic of the culture and persona of New York City. Without a doubt, the MetroCard will soon be a collector’s item of millennials and become a well-embraced piece of New York City memorabilia. The MetroCard has its many cons, such as, read errors, overcharges, transfer issues, and vending machine theft. But one of the many pros of the MetroCard is the symbolic energy it owns for the city of New York all over the world.
The MetroCard will officially become phased out by 2023. Riders who are users of outlets Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay will also be able to take advantage of the said new fare payment system. For those who are still stuck in the 20th century and don’t own cell phones or credit or debit cards, will still have the option to purchase a MetroCard from the vending machine.