A pilot program rolling out replaces the MetroCard swipe with a credit card tap.
The joint Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port Authority, and New York City Transit "Tap and Go" program allows riders to tap a Mastercard card or fob at a turnstile sensor. The fare is then deducted from an account – much like E-ZPass for cars.
Mastercard is managing the program and is paying for the trial.
The sensors will be used mostly on city buses for now, with the M14, M23, M79, M86, M101, M102 and M103 lines all being outfitted. The card will also work on PATH and New Jersey Transit Trains.
Turnstiles on the Lexington Avenue Number 4, 5 and 6 subway lines will also be a part of the pilot.
"Everything is swipe and go anyway now with MetroCards,” said one rider. “Debit cards now are the big wave, so technology is just getting better. So it's another way to just keep everything going.”
“You don't have to have two different cards, you can use it for everything, the bus, the subway and the PATH, and it refills automatically just like an E-ZPass,” said another. “It's convenient.”
“How much more time can it take to swipe a card than, I mean it's the same thing,” countered a third. “The way the MTA runs things, that system will probably be flawed. So I think it's the same thing."
The MTA is hoping to phase out the MetroCard swipe, with the goals of speeding up bus boarding and lowering fare collection costs.
If the program is successful, the MTA will make a $275 million investment from its capital budget.
"First, it's easier for our customers," said MTA Chairman and CEO Jay Walder. "The first thing you'll notice is the end of the mis-swipe; no longer will that occur. Second, it will provide for better service. Faster service."
The program will last through November 30th.
If successful, the new technology could be expanded by next year.
For more information on the new program, go to RideNewYorkNewJersey.com.