New York Metro considering $450 million contactless payment scheme

New York City’s Metro Transit Authority (MTA) is continuing to discuss the replacement of its MetroCard payment system with the new system set to include contactless payment capabilities.

In minutes of a meeting of the MTA the framework details of a new payment system were outlined at an estimated cost of $450 million.

The plans include a staggered rollout of services, beginning with contactless payment being accepted on bus services in Q1 2020, followed by contactless payment for the subway in Q3 2020, with MTA Card and Retail Network to be introduced in Q3 2021 and payment at vending machines at an unspecified point in 2022.

According to the minutes, $200 million has been spent in planning and consultation between 2010 and 2014, with a further $250 million allocated for the period 2015-19.

The MTA said it hoped to introduce a comprehensively “integrated, reliable, and convenient fare payment and collection system”.

The update shows a delay to the introduction of a replacement system to the MetroCard: the MTA had previously identified a rollout date of 2016 or 2017; it had also claimed the MetroCard would be phased out by 2019 or 2020.

The MTA has not identified a specific technology solution yet, but described their planned system as one where “customers pay fares by tapping a contactless bankcard, smartphone, or an MTA-issued smartcard against an electronic reader“.

The MTA expects a request for a proposal from businesses to provide the contactless payment system to be received in February/March 2015. There is no indication as of yet as to which companies are set to propose their payment solutions.

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