At last, New York City subway to ditch MetroCard in favor of tap-to-pay

new york subway tap to pay turnstile
Tupungato/123RF
London’s been doing it since 2014 and travelers in New York City will be able to do the same starting next year.

We’re talking about using your smartphone or credit/debit card to tap and pay for rides on the public transportation system. Yes, travelers frustrated with swiping those unreliable MetroCards again and again (and again) will soon be offered a far more reliable payment system for fares.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) this week approved a $573 million contract that’ll see new electronic readers installed on 500 subway turnstiles and 600 buses around the city, the New York Times reported on Monday.

The rollout will begin in the latter half of 2018 and will cover all of the city’s stations and buses by 2020, the Times said.

So instead of swiping a MetroCard, riders with compatible smartphones will be able to use apps like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay to tap on a reader at the turnstile on the way into a station, or when they hop on a bus. Credit or debit cards with embedded NFC chips can also be used by riders.

The MetroCard will be phased out over the next six years. Travelers who don’t have a payment-enabled smartphone or credit/debit card will be able to purchase a tap-to-pay smart card, similar to London’s Oyster card, to use the system. Here’s a short video showing how Apple Pay on an iPhone works on the London subway.

MTA chairman Joseph J. Lhota described the move toward a tap-to-pay system as “transformative,” adding, “It’s the next step in bringing us into the 21st century, which we need to do.”

Lhota speculated that “the millennial generation, those who are more prone to new technology,” will be the early adopters, adding that card issuers will be quick to incorporate NFC technology “when they realize that 5.8 to 6 million people in New York City are getting on the subway every day.”

For those people, the move to a more modern way of using the city’s transportation system will mean an end to lining up at payment machines, as well as the kinds of frustrations experienced on a daily basis with the 24-year-old MetroCard, captured brilliantly in a video posted last year by Gothamist.

Home Theater

Cord-cutting has grown by 48 percent in 8 years, according to Nielsen

People are continuing to ditch cable but not all cord-cutters are the same. In fact, there are two distinct groups within the cord-cutting universe, with a very small, yet growing third group that's worth paying attention to.
Deals

Save over $350 on the Refurbished iPad 4 for a limited time

Looking to buy an iPad without having to pay that iPad price? For a limited time, you can pick up a refurbished iPad 4 for as low as $137. That's $363 less than you would pay for something brand new.
Cars

Ford’s app-based ‘Chariot’ shuttle service is offering its final rides

Chariot, the app-based crowdsourced ride service owned by Ford, is shutting down in the coming weeks. Launched in 2014, the bus-like service has apparently been unable to deal with competition from the likes of Uber and Lyft.
Home Theater

Tablo’s new auto ad-skip feature might change cord-cutting forever

The best part about free, over-the-air TV is that you watch and record your favorite shows without paying the cable companies. But needing to skip ads still isn't as much fun as Netflix, so Tablo will let you skip them automatically.
Mobile

The most expensive Galaxy S10 could be the priciest Galaxy phone we've seen

Not long now; with 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Computing

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Android

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…
Mobile

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Mobile

Biometric phone unlocks can’t be forced by feds, says U.S. judge

Fingerprint and face unlocks used to not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, but that may soon change. A judge in California has ruled biometric unlocking methods of all kinds are protected in the same way as passcodes.
Mobile

The Note 8 and S8 range now have access to the Android Pie beta

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Mobile

The Motorola Razr may return as a foldable phone — for $1,500

The Motorola Razr V3 is one of the world's most iconic phones, and it could be making a stylistic return in the form of a foldable Motorola smartphone -- but it may cost around $1,500. Is the nostalgia worth it?
Mobile

The iPhone XS Battery Case's battery has a smaller capacity than previous cases

Apple has been rumored to be working on a new iPhone battery case for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now, those new cases are finally here, offering seven hours of extra use for each iPhone and are available for $129.