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

ESPN Plus scores the exclusive rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events

If MMA is your game, then ESPN Plus is now a very important player. The Disney-owned service locked up the exclusive rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events, a deal that will last through 2025 in the United States.
Gaming

How to get the most out of agent builds and specializations in The Division 2

The Division 2 has an intricate loot system to let you fine tune your agent to fit your play style. In our builds and specializations guide, we'll walk you through all of the stats you should pay attention to when tinkering with gear.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Emerging Tech

This streaming music service pays artists in Bitcoin, plants trees if you listen

Feedbands is an environmentally friendly subscription streaming music service that pays its artists in Bitcoin, and plants trees in exchange for authenticated listens from customers.
Mobile

Google hit with another fine by the EU, this time for $1.7 billion

Google has been fined for the third time by the EU, this time for breaching antitrust laws by requiring third-party websites using its search function to prioritize its ads over competitors.
Deals

Get your hands (and ears) on Apple’s new AirPods — here’s where to find them

Apple's new AirPods with wireless charging are the latest version of the much-loved wireless earbuds. Unfortunately, they aren't widely available yet. Here's where you can find them right now, and where they will show up soon.
Product Review

There’s almost nothing bad to say about the Mi Mix 3, but you still shouldn’t buy it

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is good-looking, really well made, packed with features, and is a powerful, modern, desirable smartphone. But you probably shouldn’t buy it. Why? Nothing wrong with the device itself, but Xiaomi itself is mostly to…
Mobile

You can now use the innovative Red Hydrogen One on Google Fi

The Red Hydrogen One was first announced in 2017 and has been delayed a few times since then. Now, the Red Hydrogen One is finally available, featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.
Mobile

Apple’s AirPower wireless charging mat may be coming soon

At its September event in 2017, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Deals

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods might be new and improved, but they aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, with attractive features. These are the best AirPod alternatives on the market today.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Mobile

The latest Google Doodle lets you create Bach-like music of your own

Google is celebrating the life of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, and to that end the company has released a new Google Doodle that allows you to create Bach-like melodies and harmonies of your own.
Mobile

Amazon’s new Kindle has an adjustable light and costs less than $100

Amazon has taken the wraps off of a new Kindle model, which boasts a number of great features and comes at a very affordable price. Perhaps the best thing about the new Kindle is that the device has an adjustable.
Mobile

Apple iPad Air vs. iPad (2018): Which Apple tablet is right for you?

The new iPad Air replaces the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, but it doesn't pack quite the same punch. It is a fair bit cheaper, starting at $500, but it's a lot more expensive than Apple's 9.7-inch iPad which starts at $330. If you're shopping for…