Last year, the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) had hoped to phase out it’s magnetic stripe MetroCards in favor of contactless payment cards. Not only has that change not occurred, writes the New York Times, it’s unknown when it will happen — or even if it will be a contactless card.
The MTA’s setback could be the result of a poor decision. Instead of investing in the technology necessary to implement contactless payments, it hoped to piggyback onto consumers’ own chip-based bank cards. Unfortunately, chip-based cards haven’t become prevalent enough in the MTA’s ridership base to enable MTA to use this as a widespread option for payment.
This leaves the MTA with its current MetroCard system, which is aging and becoming more costly to maintain. Card production alone runs about $10 million annually, and the MetroCard machines are easily vandalized.
The MTA says it could have a new system in place within three to five years; however, it also admits that it can’t sustain the current MetroCard system beyond 2019.
The MTA still hopes to avoid building its own collection system and instead use third-party devices, but actual solutions are still unknown.
Read more here.