MTA Launches Smart Card Pilot Program

It's time to tap into the future! For the next six months, MTA customers will be able to use a contactless smart card to board selected trains and buses in New York City and New Jersey. In partnership with the Port Authority, NJ TRANSIT and MasterCard, this new pilot program will test technology that will make it easier and more convenient to travel around the region on public transportation.
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When the MetroCard was introduced in the mid-1990s it revolutionized travel by introducing free transfers and discounted weekly and monthly passes. This system is now outdated, but new technology provides another opportunity to improve the travel experience for MTA customers. This pilot program will provide a glimpse at how a new fare system could facilitate seamless travel throughout the region.

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This pilot program will provide immediate benefits for participants:

  • Board buses (and subways) faster, because tapping a smart card takes just a few milliseconds and is largely immune to the glitches that can sometimes result in MetroCard error messages.
  • Walk right past lines at MetroCard vending machines. Your smart card will be connected to your bank account, so you'll never need to visit a vending machine again.
  • Choose whether you want a pay-per-ride or unlimited ride option over the web or the phone, and view your usage and payment statements online.
  • Reduce clutter in your wallet. The same bank card that you use every day to buy groceries or go to the movies will allow you to travel across multiple transportation agencies.


The pilot program is being fully funded by MasterCard, which is participating to further develop its PayPass smart card technology. Better yet, a system-wide implementation of a smart card could help the MTA reduce the cost of collecting the fare.

"This technology is a real triple play for the MTA," said MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder. "It makes life easier for our customers, helps us board our buses more quickly and saves us money. It's a win-win-win and I think people are going to love it."

The following routes are participating in the trial, which will last through November 30.

  • All 4, 5 and 6 subway stations in Manhattan as well as Borough Hall in Brooklyn, and 138th Street-Grand Concourse in the Bronx.
  • Seven New York City Transit local buses in Manhattan: the M14, M23, M79, M86, M101, M102, and M103
  • An express bus operated by the MTA Bus Company, the BxM7
  • 11 PATH stations (all except Christopher Street and 9th Street)
  • Three NJ TRANSIT bus routes: 6, 80, and 87.


Specially equipped payment readers featuring the MasterCard PayPass brand mark and universal contactless symbol have been installed along these routes to alert commuters that contactless payments are accepted.

Visit for more information on how to participate.