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After backlash, MTA postpones MetroCard vending machine work

"We heard you loud and clear," the MTA said after straphangers put the agency on blast for the work that would have made the machines cash-only over the weekend.
In a tweet, the MTA announced Wednesday night that MetroCard vending machines may be cash-only over the weekend.
In a tweet, the MTA announced Wednesday night that MetroCard vending machines may be cash-only over the weekend, so 'plan ahead,' the agency said. (Getty)

Fear not, New Yorkers who never carry cash. If you need to renew your MetroCard, you'll still be able to use your debit or credit card this weekend as the MTA has postponed IT work on MetroCard vending machines after straphangers put the agency on blast following a last-minute announcement about a software upgrade.

"We heard you all loud and clear," the MTA tweeted. "We’re going to postpone this weekend’s planned MetroCard machine upgrade for a week while we work to shorten the process and more clearly answer customer concerns. More to come on Monday."

The MTA had announced in a tweet Wednesday night that due to a scheduled software upgrade, MetroCard vending machines might not accept purchases via a debit or credit card starting Friday at 11:45 p.m. through Monday at 5 a.m.

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“Plan ahead! Purchase MetroCards before Friday evening or use cash,” the agency added.

In a subsequent tweet, the MTA wrote that “over the next few years, New York City Transit is phasing out the MetroCard and introducing tap-to-pay technology linked directly to electronic payment and accounts. In the meantime, sign up for EasyPayXpress to skip the lines and have your MetroCard automatically refilled.”

Naturally, many New Yorkers lashed out at the MTA for the last-minute announcement.

One straphanger asked that since the machines won’t accept credit cards, “that means the subway is free all weekend, right?”

“Why don’t you plan ahead so that routine upgrades don’t cause system-wide outages,” another asked?

“Signs about this should be in the stations if you really want us to plan ahead. Not everyone checks Twitter,” wrote one rider

One straphanger jokingly (we hope) asked, “Can we pay with old subway tokens since the machines will be down?” while another wondered when he’d be able to use bitcoin to buy his monthly MetroCard.

Since the cash-only weekend would have begun on Groundhog Day, one New Yorker tweeted, “Do the software release on Groundhog Day they said. Nothing bad ever happens again and again and again on Groundhog Day they said.”

One man couldn’t help but wonder if the MTA is “upgrading each machine individually.”