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New Payment System May Be Coming to MTA

Friday, July 17, 2009

The nominee to become the new MTA chief suggested this week that he'd pursue a new payment system for subways and buses that could potentially replace the MetroCard. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman reports the MTA has been trying to develop just such a system for years, but has made little progress.

REPORTER: The transit system launched a pilot project three years ago, allowing Citibank customers to wave their credit and debit cards and key-chain tags in front of turnstiles instead of swiping their MetroCards.

The pilot only applied to the Lexington Avenue line subway, but Citibank says nonetheless tens of thousands of their customers participated until the system shut down temporarily at the end of May.

This fall, the MTA will start it up again, adding a few bus lines and making the cards compatible with PATH's payment system. Eventually, the MTA is hoping to integrate the commuter rail roads. If that happens, you could travel from New Haven to Newark without getting a new ticket. For WNYC, I'm Matthew Schuerman.

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