The cash-only MetroCard vending machines straphangers were outraged about last week will become a reality on Saturday, but the good news is they’ll be credit and debit card-free much shorter than originally planned.
The MetroCard kiosks in subway and PATH stations, the JFK AirTrain system and at LaGuardia Airport will be cash-only from 12:01 to 6 a.m. on Saturday for a major software upgrade, the MTA announced Monday afternoon.
Last Wednesday, the MTA tweeted that MetroCard machines would go cash-only late Friday night until early Monday, but the agency postponed the upgrade after New Yorkers put them on blast for the last-minute announcement.
“After hearing clearly from our customers that they needed more information regarding this upgrade, we reassessed the entire process,” Managing Director Veronique Hakim said. “We are aggressively communicating with customers about this upgrade to ensure that we avoid confusion and limiting the disruption to only the very early morning hours Saturday.”
To that end, the MTA will post signs in stations and on vending machine screens as well as send text, email and social media alerts to remind straphangers of the upgrade, which the agency said will improve the security and reliability of debit and credit transactions. New York City Transit Subway staff will be in stations to help, and accommodations will be made for customers who do not have cash on hand.
Over the next few years, the MTA will transition to tap-to-pay technology for MetroCards, which will directly link to electronic payments and accounts.