NEW YORK—New technology inevitably plays a big part in shaping and moving transportation forward. A group of speakers made quick presentations on Monday evening about its “tech-enabled and optimistic projects and theories” to a gaggle of transportation enthusiasts and other onlookers at New York University Wagner’s Rudin Center off Lafayette Street.
Tap-and-Go MetroCard Evokes Interest
“There’s some drawbacks with [the MetroCard],” said Elizabeth Paul, technical analyst at MTA. “It’s obsolete, it’s aging, it’s near the end of its life, it’s 20 years old, and it’s using antiquated technology.”
In addition, out of every dollar collected by the MTA, 15 cents goes toward costs. And the average of two seconds per swipe is too long.
Paul showcased the tap-and-go concept, first seen with a pilot program in 2010. The method would allow riders to briefly put a credit card in front of a card reader, taking mere milliseconds. Customers could buy monthly passes on the Internet, or just be charged for a single ride at a time. Discover, MasterCard, American Express, and Visa cards would all work, as would mobile phone applications such as Google Wallet.
“You no longer have to wait in line at the vending machine to buy your monthly pass while your train’s leaving the station—you can just tap-and-go,” said Paul. For those wishing to remain anonymous or use cash, cards similar to euro bank cards would be provided.
The new method would also allow for the agency to collect statistics and data, while letting cardholders view their individual travel and purchase history.
However, Paul said the agency is still in the planning stage and could not give a date of implementation. A 2011 MTA agenda said that “a full rollout” of the new payment method will be on all buses and at all subway systems by 2015.
Bus Riders Express Appreciation
Two riders of one of the longest bus routes in the country, the M15, decided to say thanks to bus drivers by giving them seat cushions with artistic designs. The two students, Lizzy Showman and Kathleen Fitzgerald of the School of Visual Arts, posted stickers along the route, which spans from South Street Seaport to 125 Street, with a QR code to their social networking website. The website allows M15 riders to share stories, thank-yous, and daily routes.
Showman and Fitzgerald decided to start the project to “touch the hearts and give back appreciation to the bus drivers that we ride with every day.”
About 50 of the 400 bus drivers along the route have received cushions; the pair will try to raise money on Kickstarter to give cushions to the rest of the drivers.