Thirteen years after the MTA discontinued tokens, the agency is moving to ditch the MetroCard.
The MTA published a request for a “New Fare Payment System” on its website this week.
The NFPS, as it’s called, “will replace the current MetroCard fare payment system.”
The solicitation says MTA is “seeking a Systems Integrator to design, furnish, install, test, integrate and implement an account-based new fare payment and collection system.”
The agency is requesting ideas that “utilize contactless media, including contactless smart cards and mobile devices.”
So in the future, bus and subway riders might hold their phone or card to a turnstile reader, instead of swiping their way through.
The account-based system the MTA is looking for "shall provide MTA/NYCT with an integrated, reliable and convenient fare payment and collection system to allow bus and train customers to pay fares by tapping a contactless bank card, smartphone or any mobile device, or MTA issued smart card against an electronic reader.”
Proposed ideas should be easy to maintain and environmentally friendly, the MTA said.
Once a contract for the new system has been awarded, it will take 69 months, or just under 6 years, before its “completion.”
The MTA hopes to begin phasing in the new fare payment system in mid-2018, with full phase-in expected in 2020. It took eight years to phase out the old token system.
An MTA spokesperson said the entire project will cost about $618 million, including updating turnstiles and payment systems.
Not all commuters will have to wait too long to use smartphones for fares: later this year, passengers on railroad lines will be able to buy and display tickets on their phones.
For now, subway riders will have to do a bit more swiping — with all the hassle it can sometimes entail.
“Sometimes I miss a swipe. I miss a swipe and then I miss it again. Then I miss it a third time and I’m like, ‘damn,'” one subway rider said.
Rana Novini contributed to this report.