It’s been a long goodbye for the MetroCard. Since 1996, the bright yellow card has been the way to pay for buses and subways run by the MTA throughout New York City and the surrounding areas.
When the MTA switched from tokens to cards, it was a different time. Most people were still purchasing tokens from an MTA employee at the subway station. Over 1/2 of New Yorkers didn’t have a bank account and cash was a primary payment method.
With the switch to the MetroCard came another significant change, the MetroCard vending machine.
Today, the MetroCard dispensing machine looks like a kids’ toy. But 25 years ago, using a touch-screen device was new to most New Yorkers. The bright color coding indicated what each area was for (cash, credit card, MetroCard.)
However, times change and the MTA is nearing the end of the transition from the swipe-based MetroCard to the new, contactless OMNY platform. The change was announced in 2019 and it’s been a long road to get where we are. At the end of 2020, the entire bus and subway systems had OMNY readers.
The MTA expects many riders to tap a contactless card or use a phone or watch to pay for their rides. As part of the changeover, the MTA now sells an OMNY card to those who don’t have a contactless card or device. You can buy and reload the cards with cash at many drugstores or convenience stores or reload them with your credit or debit card via the OMNY website.
But the OMNY system is missing some features from the MetroCard. For example, there is no 7-day or 30-day pass, which can make it more expensive for visitors. There’s also no way for seniors to get a reduced fare, but the MTA says that feature is coming very soon.
With less need for the MetroCard, the MTA will start removing the MetroCard vending machines from stations and replacing them with OMNY machines.
In the not-so-distant future, the MetroCard Machine will be phased out and replaced with OMNY vending machines.
Before that, let's take a look back at how this iconic New York symbol received its signature design.https://t.co/gPSxv2a3I3
— MTA. Wear a Mask. (@MTA) August 31, 2022
The project is set to be completed by the end of 2023. At that time, we’ll finally have to say goodbye to the MetroCard for good.
I guess my trick of what to do with an expired MetroCard won’t work for a whole lot longer.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary