Amy Linden, MTA Senior Director of New Payment Systems, visited the NYCTRC on Thursday, June 24th, to explain the new contactless pilot program that began on June 1st.
Ms. Linden was hired last spring to head up the implementation of this new payment system. Using bank-issued cards or devices that contain a special chip and antenna designed to work with specially equipped contactless readers, riders pay with a simple tap of the card or device (known as a key fob). Currently, only Master Cards embedded with the special technology will work; however, in two months Visa will also be accepted. Essentially, this process is paying for transportation using a credit card.
Special readers have been installed on the NYCT Lexington/Avenue line 456 at select subway stations; NYCT bus lines: M14/23/79/86/101/102/103 and the BxM7; most PATH stations serving Manhattan and New Jersey; and NJ TRANSIT bus lines: 6,80,and 87.
Ms. Linden recently met with a group of rider advocates to explain why this new system is needed:
1. The current costs to operate the fare system is too high — 15 cents for every revenue dollar collected.
2. The current fare payment transactions are too slow, especially on busses.
3. The MetroCard is reaching the end of its useful life — the mag stripe techology is approaching obsolescence.
4. The supplier monopoly (for MetroCard) is expensive.
The goal of the current project is to test the technology; but once verified, it is anticipated that the application will expanded.
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