It's the end of the line for the MetroCard: the MTA announces a new fare system that will allow subway and bus riders to pay with cell phones or certain credit or debit cards. NY1 Transit Reporter Jose Martinez has the details.
The MetroCard has been a fixture in the city's transit system for 23 years.
But like the token it replaced, MetroCards are now outdated, the victim of even more advanced technology.
"I think it's about time that we finally have a quicker, efficient way," one man said.
On Monday, the MTA announced the roll out of a new fare system that will enable passengers to pay with the wave of a cell phone, as well as with certain credit or debit cards.
"Including mobile apps, digital wallets, contactless bank cards, and MTA-issued contactless transit cards," said Steve Plochochi, the MTA's Vice President for Procurement.
The MTA pledged to install new electronic readers at 500 turnstiles and on 600 buses within 18 months, and citywide by 2020.
On Wednesday, the MTA Board is set to award a $573 million contract to California-based Cubic Transportation Systems for the new payment system, which his modeled after those that are used in the London Underground and on commuter rail systems in Chicago and Vancouver.
"When I see most people go into Starbucks — I actually pay in cash — but it seems like everybody else does a tap-and-go on their smartphone," MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said. "That's going to be the way you can pay for your fare in the future."
By the end of the year, the MTA will have scanners, which you can see in the video above, in 14 subway stations throughout the system. They will eventually allow riders from the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad to access the subway through the MTA's eTix app.
That's a big change from today's MetroCards, which cannot be used on the commuter railroads.
Riders say they won't miss the MetroCard much at all once it's gone for good.
"I lose my MetroCard a couple of times a year, and since I do the Unlimited, it's really expensive to lose," one commuter said.
"A lot of people keep messing around with the swipes and a lot of people are having issues with the machines, and they're all outdated," another said.
For a time, both systems will operate side by side, just like the token and the MetroCard once did.
Then, if all goes according to plan, in 2023, the MetroCard will be swiped into history.