2006_12_tap.jpgThe Daily News had an exclusive on something a couple of the transit agencies are considering: A
"smart" that commuters could use for NJ Transit buses, PATH train, and maybe even city subways. And a dream plan would also include the AirTrain and ferries! According to the News, the Port Authority has asked financial institutions to "put together a system that essentially would feature some version of debit or credit cards that function like MetroCards - and that could also open PATH train turnstiles and be used to pay for trips on some New Jersey Transit buses and possibly even for commuter train rides on both sides of the Hudson River." Which would be a great - if hardly groundbreaking - idea.

Apparently the PA, MTA and NJ Transit have a "strategic alliance to pursue a joint payment system and simplify travel between their systems." Our suggestion to take it further and to encourage use: Have the different agencies involved to bundle the cost of fares, perhaps with a discount, to make it more attractive to take mass transit than driving in. Okay, maybe we're dreaming, but if the Mayor is serious about trying to lower congestion, then they should think about that. But how will Transit Chex work?

Another interesting fact: All this planning will be affected by how the MTA's subway turnstiles technology evolves. We'd just like it to evolve to the point where the display tells us when our unlimited card expires, instead of only "Go."