Burn Your MetroCard -- Credit Cards to Take Over for Subways and Buses - NBC New York

Burn Your MetroCard -- Credit Cards to Take Over for Subways and Buses

One card to link subways, PATH and NJ Transit



    One tap and you're through the turnstile! (Published Tuesday, June 1, 2010)

    The buses and trains won't be changing much, but the way you pay for them will.

    At least that's the plan for commuters on MTA subways and buses, Port Authority PATH trains, and NJ Transit buses, light rail and trains. And the instrument of change is your everyday, wallet -stuffed credit card.

    Riders said they are ready for a simplified process.

    "You got the Link thing, you got the Metro thing, so one integrated card would probably be the best way to go," said Kevin Andree, 37, of Hamilton, N.J. about the multiple ways he has to pay right now to ride NJ Transit, PATH trains and the MTA's New York City subways.

    A six month experiment will start with MasterCard and its PayPass feature which includes a so-called 'tap and go' motion that runs the card or a key fob past a reader, without physically having to actually swipe the card.

    "Especially when I was going from using the MTA system to using NJ Transit, it was very confusing," complained Anita Keire, 50, of Park Slope in Brooklyn.

    Now, whether you're paying for a single ride, or normally sign up on a monthly discount system -- which you would continue doing -- your credit card will do all the work for you.

    It may seem as though there could be one big fly in this ointment, however. What if there's a high tech computer crash; the Network goes down?

    "PayPass has been working flawlessly since we rolled it out(in 2005)," said MasterCard Senior V-P Cathleen Conforti, while noting there are some 75 million cards that already carry the feature and are being used at convenience stores, drug stores and elsewhere.

    For the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, it is just one more step to the 21st Century.

    "This is a system not unlike our SmartLink that already has a number of security and backup systems in place," assured Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni.

    The 'tap and go' credit card readers will be at all but two of the PATH stations(Christopher and 9th Street Stations won't have it during the experiment--too expensive to wire), on the Lexington Avenue Subway lines(4,5,6), eight MTA bus routes(M14, M23, M79, M86, M101, M102, M103 and BXM7) as well as 3 NJ Transit bus lines(6, 80, and 87).

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