Missing the train while fumbling through a wallet or purse for a MetroCard could be a thing of the past in as little as five years, according to a report.
The MTA looking to replace the iconic flimsy yellow-and-blue cards with an all-electronic system by 2019, according to Fast Company. A new system hasn’t yet been announced, but the authority says a replacement could feature credit cards or smartphones.
The news comes 20 years after MetroCard replaced subway tokens in 1994.
Part of the reason for the proposed switch is because the MetroCards -- and the vending machines used to distribute them -- are becoming dated and expensive to maintain, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz told Fast Company.
“MetroCard is a system that is reaching the end of its useful life,” Ortiz told the outlet. “Its equipment is on the verge of becoming obsolete.”
It’s not clear how a new system will work, Fast Company reports, but the MTA is exploring options where commuters would tap smartphones or credit cards on a reader. Ideally, a new system would work not only for subways and buses but for regional transportation, as well.
Other cities have introduced similar systems in recent years, Fast Company reports. Washington D.C.’s Metro uses hard plastic smart cards that riders tap on a reader to get through turnstiles. And Boston’s transportation authority introduced a smartphone app that commuter rail customers could use to buy tickets.