MetroCard Turns 20, Reminding Officials Of Delayed Plans For No-Swipe System

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the MetroCard as a staple in New Yorkers’ wallets. What better way to honor its legacy than to renew calls for its replacement?

AM New York reports the MTA is still holding onto its dreams of retiring MetroCards once and for all in hopes of upgrading to “tap-and-go” smart cards or phones, similar to London’s system for the Underground.

The 20-year milestone is a benchmark MTA officials aren’t exactly proud to be observing.

“I was hoping we wouldn’t have it this long,” said MTA board member Andrew Albert. “I think New Yorkers will be very happy when we can put the MetroCard to bed.”

In 2009, the MTA projected to officially phase out the use of MetroCards by 2014. Officials are now shooting for 2019.

While the MetroCard has its noted benefits, particularly when compared to the old token system, the new smart cards will reportedly save money for the perennially cash-troubled MTA.

Printing the cards alone costs nearly $10 million annually, and vending machines are routinely disabled by scammers hoping to lure riders into purchasing rides from them– a practice that, while no longer a felony, will still get you in trouble with the NYPD.

In July, then Council Speaker Christine Quinn urged the MTA to fast track plans to discontinue the MetroCard.

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