New York and Washington D.C. are among the U.S. cities looking to revamp the payment systems for their trains and buses over the next several years. Many will ditch paper and plastic farecards in favor of credit cards and smartphones.
D.C.’s Metro system announced this week that it will begin a pilot program to test “a new electronic fare payment system at rail stations, on buses and at its parking garages,” with the goal of transitioning the entire system by 2019, reports Mark Berman. Washington joins New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago in the quest to replace farecards, and even tokens, with “next-generation” fare systems.
As Will Oremus notes in Slate, the transition will allow transit systems to ditch card-vending machines and speed up the boarding process. ”On the other hand,” adds Oremus, “opportunistic thieves might salivate at the prospect of hordes of commuters having to wave their credit cards and smartphones around every time they want to ride a train or hop a bus.”
With a changing climate, more storms and more damage are likely on the way.
"The primary response post-Sandy has been to elevate some homes and elevate some infrastructure," he says. "So it’s like you’re standing in the river and the flood is coming, and instead of getting out of the river, you just roll up your pant legs, or hike up your skirt."