The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) - New York City Transit (NYCT) is finally adopting a more modern technology for its transportation systems.
Say goodbye to your old MetroCards and hello to the wireless payment method implementing soon this coming 2021. That's about five years from now, so better make that farwell a long, very long, one.
Today, the MTA-NYCT released a public solicitation notice [PDF] calling for a Systems Integrator (SI) to "design, furnish, install, test, integrate and implement an account-based new fare payment and collection system based on open bank card payment industry standards that will utilize contactless media, including contactless smart cards and mobile devices." In short, a company willing to assist the MTA in implementing and maintaining a contactless payment system.
Called the New Fare Payment System (NFPS), the project will upgrade all bus and train lines with modern tech and introduce a system wherein consumers need only to tap their cards or link their cellphones to a reader and get the fare accounted for through online means. This eliminates the time consumed in the current system where users have to carefully insert their MetroCards or else repeat the process for a couple of times.
It's an efficient modern day technology, very much like the ones already used in London with their Oyster cards, in Chicago with their Ventra cards, and in Boston with their CharlieCards. It seems 2021 might just be a long wait since other areas are already up to date with technology.
Some of the reasons for the lag in adaption may lie in "the behemoth that is the MTA network" according to a report by Gizmodo. Installations of the contactless readers would begin in 2018, gradually spreading out to other parts of the system until its completion in 2021, or so MTA says.
According to The Verge, another reason the NFPS has not been installed yet could be because of the MTA's indecisiveness. In a report, the MTA had tried to test out the tech twice, once in 2006 and then later in 2010. None of this reportedly pushed through until Andre Cuomo, New York Governor, announced last year that he wanted the NY transportation system to be upgraded to "the 21st century."
And the 21st century is what regular riders of the NY transportation system are looking forward to.
In interviews conducted by the NYDailyNews, Tyler Yniguez from the Upper East Side comments that the "tap and go" method is much more seamless than the current "swiping your card" way.
Genevieve Lacey, a 23-year-old server, says MetroCards take a long time to work. If a user doesn't swipe it in quickly enough, it'll take a couple times more before it bites.
Wendy O' Shields, 55, from Brooklyn, comments that the current ticketing system's dispensability is wasteful. She very much would prefer an environmentally friendly system via mobile ticketing.
Whether or not the NFPS will really be done by 2021 is questioned by most sites, alluding to the fact that it's an announcement by the MTA, after all. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Photo: MTA | Flickr