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Jay St. Station to Test Smart Cards

Brooklyn commuters who still get frustrated with trying to swipe their MetroCards will get a chance to try out hassle-free Smart Cards soon -- but only if they use the Borough Hall/Jay Street station. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will begin trying out the new system this spring, which will allow commuters to wave a Smart Card at a sensor just like an E-ZPass. The six-month trial will be limited to 25 stations, including the Borough Hall station in Brooklyn, and all of the Lexington Avenue lines in Manhattan. “The benefits are that it simplifies fair management for customers, while providing an upgrade in efficiency, and costs savings for customers,” said James Anyansi, a spokesperson for York New City Transit. NYC Transit is using the same technology as MasterCard PayPass, which gives shoppers the same convenience to wave their card at a sensor rather than sliding or dipping it into a card reader. Commuters will no longer have to stop while trying to get the machine to read their card. This in turn should reduce lines and wait times during rush hours. The tickets will look like credit cards or key-chain tags, with embedded chips and radio antennae. Apart from the Jay Street-Borough Hall station on the A, C and F lines, the PayPass will be accepted at 23 stations from Bowling Green to 125th Street on the 4, 5 and 6 lines in Manhattan; and the 23rd Street-Ely Avenue station on the E and V lines in Queens When the Smart Card will be introduced in other stations will depend on how the pilot goes, Anyansi said. Participants will be able to buy discount cards including $10 for six rides, but for the trial period unlimited weekly or monthly passes will not be available, Anyansi said. Citigroup and Mastercard International are sponsoring the experiment and eligibility will be restricted to PayPass cards issued by the bank. If the technology works as planned, the Smart Card will be introduced on MTA subways, buses and rail as well as PATH and NJ Transit trains, allowing travelers to transfer easily between different operators. The Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee, a group that represents transit riders, issued a report two years ago that supported a phased introduction of the Smart Card. “It is something we have been pushing for a long time,” said Beverly Dolinsky, executive director of the New York City Transit Riders Council. “We think the MTA has been lagging in using the Smart Card, with Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco introducing them a long time ago.” “People will be only too happy to give up the swipe,” Dolinsky said. She said that they will be particularly beneficial for buses where passengers often get held up in a single line by slow MetroCard readers. The MTA’s five-year budget allows for around $90 million for upgrading the Transit Authority’s fare collection system.

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