stand clear of the closing doors

MetroCard Going the Way of the Subway Token, Soon-ish

Metrocard users at the Rockefeller Center subway station.
Those were the days … Photo: Linda Rosier/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

The MetroCard turns 20 years old this week, a milestone the MTA is celebrating by calling for its retirement. “I was hoping we wouldn’t have it this long,” said an agency board member. “I think New Yorkers will be very happy when we can put the MetroCard to bed.” In its official announcement, the MTA hinted vaguely, “What’s next? Oh, we’re working on something even better.” 

According to amNY, the city “envisions a system that would allow outside companies to develop multiple ways for paying fares. That could include bank-issued contactless ‘tap-and-go’ smart cards, smartphones or account-based devices.” What it definitely means less of: impatiently judging rookies who swipe incorrectly.

(“Not too slow, not too fast, and don’t lift too early,” says the MTA of the finicky system. “Some likened it to delivering a punch to the gut. Well, this is New York.”)

If all goes according to plan, for which there should be a more concrete one this year, MetroCards will be phased out by 2019, when a subway ride will cost approximately 94 Bitcoin.  

MetroCard Turns 20, to Retire by 2019