Closeup of MTA turnstile

MTA tests contactless payment

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NY) is testing a contactless payment option for commuter rail riders who are transferring to the subway.

Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad customers who use the eTix mobile payment application will soon be able to enter selected subway stations with a tap of their smart phones.  The MTA has installed a scanner in a turnstile at lower Manhattan’s Bowling Green station for internal testing and plans to outfit turnstiles in 14 stations before the end of the year.

“We have started to test these readers as part of the scheduled eTix expansion that will allow Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad customers to purchase a joint railroad and subway ticket using their mobile phone,” said MTA spokesman Keven Ortiz. “It’s part of our efforts to create a 21st century transit system that embraces innovation to improve the customer experience.”

This pilot ties into the planned phaseout of the MTA’s magnetic-stripe MetroCard.  “From my point of view this can’t come soon enough. There are a lot of issues with MetroCard — from the ‘please swipe again here’ message, the stripe wearing out,” said board member Andrew Albert. “Other cities are doing this and we’re a little late to the game — but there are lots of different possibilities.”

The cost of the pilot is not yet known. Link to full story in AM New York.

Photo credit: Susan Mara Bregman

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