- UX Lead Anna Svetlov for Digital Commuter Strategy
If you're a NYC Commuter, you may have heard the rumors: the MTA wants to phase out the Metrocard. They have been investigating alternate fare systems; dropping hints and plans for almost 5 years since approving their 2010-2014 capital plan.
Now the time has come for the debut of their contact-less fare system and the MTA has...nothing. That's right, after 5 years and several pilot programs with MasterCard
, the MTA isn't very much further on the path to replacing the Metrocard. Why is that?
The MTA has one of the largest and most diverse commuter bases in the world, including daily commuters, tourists, weekend commuters, and students. At the same time, the location of work hubs is changing, expanding beyond Manhattan to including downtown Brooklyn, White Plains and Long Island City. Not to mention, New York commuters have access to 6 branches of the MTA, plus NJ Transit, PATH, Amtrak, and the new NYC Citibike Bike Share!
For any new fare system to work, it must serve a growing transit ridership (Up 49% from 1995-2012, since Metrocard use started becoming widespread) using more diverse methods to commute to new locations. It needs to shed old technologies and adopt new ones, such as RFID chips (found in some credit/debit cards) or NFC, available on most smartphones. But it still has to account for nearly 825,000 adults in NYC that do not have bank or credit cards, and many commuters without smart phones, too. This is no small task.
As we work on building the Strategy for the Digital Commuter, we're taking all of these challenges into account to create a dynamic solution for the new age of technological innovation.