MetroCards are on their way out, starting in May of 2019
The beginning of the end is near for MetroCards. As AM New York reports, the MTA plans to launch its new fare payment system in May of 2019, with MetroCards to be completely phased out in 2023. The new contactless payment system will eventually take payment from bank cards, smart phones, and a proprietary smart card. When the new validators first roll out, which is expected to happen as soon as October in selected Lexington Avenue stations and on Staten Island buses, they will only accept payment from NFC-enabled devices and cards. Eventually proprietary smart cards will be available for purchase like gift cards in stores, with vending machines to follow in 2022.
A payment app is also in the works from Cubic, who created the current MetroCard system as well as apps in use in Chicago, Vancouver, and London. Gothamist got a look at the company's most recent Chicago app, which you can take a look at in the video below.
The May launch is set to include a stretch of the 4, 5, and 6 lines between Grand Central-42nd Street in Manhattan and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The initial rollout does not, so far, include the L line, which will be shut down between 8th Ave in Manhattan and Bedford Ave in Brooklyn starting a month earlier, in April of 2019.
With MetroCards on their way out, that will sadly mean the end of themed cards, like the recent set of David Bowie MetroCards and the Twin Peaks MetroCards that came out in 2017.
Listen to Le Tigre's 1999 Giuliani-criticizing song "My My Metrocard" below.