New York subway set for contactless payments
Written by Chris Lemmon
The New York subway is in line to accept contactless for fare payments after the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) board voted to approve a contract to phase in the new system.
The move marks an official transition away from the MetroCard ticketing scheme, which was first introduced to the city in 1994. The shift to contactless will take place in a series of phases over a period of more than five years, with customers first being able to use contactless payments in 2019.
The new payment system will first be tested for all-door boarding on SBS buses, while Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad customers will also be able to merge their subway, bus and rail tickets into one integrated form of payment. The new account-based system will offer customers a variety of self-service options to manage their account, including via the web and on mobile devices.
Cubic Transportation Systems has won the contract to design and build the latest New York fare system, having previously been involved in Transport for London’s contactless travel roll-out.
Joseph Lhota, chairman of the MTA, commented: “The move to a truly 21st century method of payment represents a critical step in our overall efforts at modernising the subway system and improving service for all our customers. The subway, bus and commuter rail network is the lifeblood of our regional economy and major upgrades like this help make the system more convenient and efficient for the millions of New Yorkers who use it every day.”
Mike Brown, commissioner for Transport for London, added: “It’s great to hear that New York will be introducing contactless payments, similar to that introduced on the Tube and buses in London, to help its customers travel more conveniently. This system has completely transformed the way people pay for travel for public transport in London, with over a billion journeys already made since it was first introduced in 2012.”
By 2019, a total of 500 subway turnstiles and 600 buses are set to receive the necessary technology upgrades. At the same time, customers will still be able to use MetroCard until 2023.