New York subway to go contactless
27 October 2017 | 10389 views | 1
New York is finally ditching the old-fashioned MetroCard and following in London's footsteps by allowing subway users to pay for their journeys with contactless bank cards and mobile wallets such as Apple Pay.
New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) first began testing contactless payments for subway users back in 2006, teaming with MasterCard and Citi on a pilot.
Ten years on, Governor Cuomo promised to "accelerate" the technology's roll out as part of a wide-ranging overhaul of the Big Apple's MTA designed to finally bring it into the 21st century.
The system was initially slated to roll out in 2018 but that has now been put back by a year after the MTA this week inked a $573 million contract with Cubic Transportation Systems to replace the MetroCard which took over from paper tickets in the 1990s.
Cubic, which has experience rolling out a similar system in London, will oversee the installation of new readers at 500 subway turnstiles and on 600 buses by the middle of 2019. All stations and buses should be equipped by the end of 202, with MetroCard readers retired in 2023.
Customers will be able to use their contactless bank cards as well as mobile options such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. The MTA will also begin issuing its own card from 2021.
"The move to a truly 21st century method of payment represents a critical step in our overall efforts at modernizing the subway system and improving service for all our customers," says MTA chairman Joseph Lhota.
Mastercard's Will Judge welcomed the news, arguing that not only will contactless payments reduce crowding and queues, it will save people from having to top up MetroCards and make life easier for visitors to the city.