Ever so slowly, the MTA is forging ahead with a pilot to bring next-generation fare payment technology to New York City. The MetroCard with its swipe and magnetic strip has been outdated since the day it was introduced to the subway system, and Jay Walder, who helped usher in the age of the contactless Oyster Card in London, is pushing forward with a plan to tie subway entrance fees into credit cards with smart chips in them. By reducing the costs of fare collection by just a few cents, the MTA would save tens of millions of dollars every year, and New Yorkers wouldn’t have to carry yet another piece of plastic around with them.
Today, we learn that Transport for London is working on its own plans to bring a credit card-based contactless payment system to the Underground, and they’re doing so in conjunction with the MTA, among others. According to The Telegraph, Transport for London officials are in talks with a number of international cities to ensure a common standard for next-gen fare payment plans. These cities include New York, Boston, Chicago, Paris, Sydney and Manchester.
Needless to say, a fare cooperative on an international level would be a boon for travelers. It would encourage even more subway use among tourists as negotiating potentially foreign fare systems would no longer be an obstacle to use. This is forward-thinking policy on a global scale.