All public transportation payment methods must die—it is a fate that befell the subway token in 2003, and the nickel-and-dime turnstile slots that preceded even that ancient piece of currency. The MTA's made it clear that the MetroCard is running on borrowed time, though it's unclear exactly when the flimsy little train passports will be served their final death sentence. But there's at least some plan in place now, and the MTA says they'll phase MetroCards out in favor of a mysterious "New Fare Payment System" starting in 2018. RFID payment chip implants for all!
It's not clear exactly how we'll be paying for (probably $10 dollar) subway rides in the future, but the MTA says they're looking for a "Systems Integrator" who can help come up with a payment method that would replace the card. The system would preferably be contactless and allow commuters to use their smartphones to enter turnstiles, much like how commuters on the London Underground are able to use their iPhones and androids as Oyster cards.
The agency, which did not respond to our request for comment, has agreed to funnel $419 million into the development and implementation of this new fare payment system through 2019, and they hope to begin rolling out the program in 2018. The MTA says they hope the MetroCard will be completely replaced by 2020 or so, which gives Bernie and Hillary plenty of time to practice playing with their cards.