Trying to swipe your way into a subway station with a MetroCard will soon be a thing of the past as the MTA has taken the first step in replacing the card with 21st century technology.
The agency this week sent out a request for proposals for a “New Fare Payment System” which calls for bids to replace the current fare payment system, according to NBC4 New York.
The request calls for a “Systems Integrator” to “design, furnish, install, test, integrate and implement an account-based new fare payment and collection system,” NBC4 reported.
Ideas that the MTA is looking for during this process are those that use “contactless media,” which include smart cards and smartphones, and are also considered easy to maintain and environmentally friendly.
The new system will allow both bus and subway commuters to “pay fares by tapping a contactless bank card, smartphone or any mobile device, or MTA-issued smart card against an electronic reader.”
After a company is hired for the job, it will take about 15 months to install the new system on buses and then eight months for subway stations, DNAinfo reported. Whoever is hired will be awarded a five-year contract to design, install and test the system. The MTA aims to save about $6 million yearly through getting rid of MetroCards.
Although reports have said that the MTA plans to fully replace the MetroCards by 2022, the agency says that is not going to be the case. The plan is to gradually phase out the cards but still give commuters time to get used to the new system while also allowing the agency to evaluate how the new system is doing.
The MTA plans to begin the phasing out process by June 2018 but there is no definite date as to when the cards will be completely put to rest.
The price for the new fare payment system is estimated to cost about $619 million, according to the MTA.