Subway riders, rejoice: NYC is finally killing off the MetroCard in 2023

Elias Hubbard
October 24, 2017

The new card readers will be similar to those in London's subway system.

A test-run of the new system went live last month at the Bowling Green and Wall Street stations in Manhattan and pilots are planned for hubs like Penn Station, Grand Central and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center by yearend. Hillary Clinton famously struggled with this issue during her presidential election campaign in 2016.

New electronic readers will be installed in 500 subway turnstiles and on 600 buses in NY beginning late next year, and will reach the rest of the city's subway stations and buses by late 2020.

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.

Riders may continue to use the current MetroCard (which is flexible and uses a magnetic strip), until 2023 – when the MTA plans to phase out the MetroCard entirely. The old card readers aren't expected to be fully upgraded in every station in NYC until late 2020.

The committee voted to approve a $573 million contract with Cubic Transportation Systems, which operates the MetroCard as well as fare payment systems in London, Chicago, Sydney and Brisbane. The new system will allow riders to use their cellphone, debit or credit card, or a new tap card to pay for trips on the system, the New York Post says. The new system would also work with the Long-Island Railroad and Metro North Commuter train lines, which are also part of the MTA.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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