The “smart card” system is now being tested on a limited basis with the buses.
But first, a quick refresher on what the hell a smart card is. In short, it’s like easy pass for subway fare. It’s a little keychain bob that you can swipe over a sensor to pay your fare. It’s like your Duane Reade club card that you have on your keychain. If you have Mastercard with “blink” technology, it’s like that too.
The concept basically deducts the fare automatically from a bank or charge account every time you use it to do a touch-less fare swipe. Right now, it is only available along Lexington Avenue, and has been since late 2006.
SUBWAYblogger is hoping that bus testing means good things for the technology getting rolled out to the whole system. It really would be nice to leave the whole MetroCard thing behind, at least for regular riders. However, they have not yet figured out how to handle monthly passes, etc. Right now, the system charges you the full $2.00 fare every time.
I would imagine that they could set up an easy online system to manage your account. For example, every month just automatically charge you to “refill” your unlimited monthly pass. Through the online portal, you could decide how often you want your account recharged.
They could even setup the current MetroCard machines to control your account, sort of like an ATM machine. All you would have to do is dip the card that is tied to your account. Eventually, we could see the day where all you have to do is walk onto the train, and an RFID tag will know you got on, and charge you.