Could it be? One year after some talk that the MTA was considering bringing smart card technology to roost here, the MTA is actually going to pilot test smart cards. So that $44 million put towards testing isn't going to waste! The goal is to have a "seamless fare card" that would be able to work against the MTA's systems (the subways, buses, Metro North), the PATH, and NJ Transit (buses and trains). Gothamist would love that idea - waiting on line at Penn Station for LIRR or NJ Transit tickets kills us, even at the machines. The Daily News says the agencies signed a "strategic alliance" to simply NYC metro area travel, which makes us yearn for a reality show with contestents from those agencies trying to navigate through their properties, The Amazing Race-meets-Survivor like. However, the pilot program won't begin until next year at the earliest...but then again, that's a few months for us to lobby the MTA to be part of the test.
Another great thing about the potential of a Smart Card is that people would get through turnstiles at subways faster (and with less hurting when you misswipe but still walk through) and would help get people on buses faster (damn those people who insert the cards the opposite from the arrows!). And as we said earlier, Smart Card technology is already used in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, not to mention the PATH. And in Hong Kong, their smart card for the subway and bus systems, the Octopus Card, can be used to buy goods, like bread from the bakery by the subway station. How Stuff Works on smart cards.