Guess it’s going to be a little longer before we can do away with our easy-to-misplace, hard-to-use-up MetroCards: While the MTA has been experimenting with near field communication technology for subway fares as far back as 2007—inviting us to imagine a day when we can pay for mass transit with the tap of a smartphone or debit card—the full adoption of the technology remains beyond our grasp.
Who to blame? Banks, according to one transit official, who told The New York Times yesterday that lack of distribution of NFC-enabled cards means that the MetroCard won’t go completely out of service until 2019:
“We originally thought that these contactless cards, distributed by banks, would be widely distributed and in wide use today,” Michael DeVitto, executive vice president in charge of fare collection for New York City Transit, told the authority’s committee on capital program oversight on Monday. “That’s not the case.”
And so we’re all doomed to spend another six years calculating how many dollars to add to our regular MetroCards if we’re ever going to run the balance down to zero.