The little yellow plastic card that has accompanied you near and far is facing retirement this spring. Mixed feelings are bound to be had, but a bright future for New York commuters is ahead of us…right?
In October of 2017, the MTA announced their plan to do away with the swipe cards that have been in use since the early 1990s. What has become a true New York staple (and endless annoyance) is finally facing a much overdue facelift.
Over the course of the next five years, a new “tap and go” system will be implemented in all MTA stations citywide. The MTA has announced the stations that will be updated first; starting in May 2019, public transport riders in Staten Island passing through the Lexington Avenue Line from Grand Central–42nd Street to Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center on the 4, 5 or 6 trains will have the option to use the new payment method.
Although the MTA has announced that as of May, pay-per-ride fares will be available with OMNY without any advance purchase required, testing on these cards seem to be happening now. OMNY, or One Metro New York, will ideally make contactless payment the preferred option for all commuters moving forward but traditional MetroCards can still be used until the phase-out process in complete (in 2023).
The idea behind OMNY is to make the process seamless by connecting an account to smartphones. The card itself would be linked to an account, such as Apple Pay, which would charge you when going through the turnstile. That said, over the next few months they’ll be working on also adding “payment options that are comparable to what is available today (like reduced fares and time-based passes).” But what about people who don’t have smartphones? For now the MTA says the cards will still accept cash.
Featured image: @ny_photography_view via Instagram
Also published on Medium.