Now coming on Track 9, contactless payments

Patrick Turiano |

May 2, 2011

Could the T be going contactless?

There aren’t any plans in the works that we yet know of to facilitate this move, but if Boston follows New York as it sometimes does (oh it hurts to admit that) the Charlie Card might not be long for this world.

Back in 2006, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) experienced with contactless payment for its subway users. Five years later, the MTA decided the experiment was successful enough that it has developed ConOps, or Concept of Operations, that will lead to the design, procurement and implementation of a new contactless payment system for subway riders.

The MTA must see the bright future of contactless payments, as it has invited fare collection, technology, telecommunications, system integration and payment industries to become involved in getting this project up and running.

No date has been set as a go live date, but with the introduction of chip-and-pin cards for Chase and Wells Fargo customers, the MTA might be looking to push this project along sooner, rather than later.

The T here in Boston just moved to the reloadable Charlie Card a few years ago, but just like our toll booths fell in line with FastPass, it wouldn’t surprise us if the T also adopted this new form of payment.

Contactless right now seems to be the wave of the future, and as an innovative company, we’re all for new ideas, but we do caution that the infrastructure takes time, money and patience to implement. Better to take the time to think it through and make sure implementation goes as smooth as possible, than to rush to implement and have the system plagued by issues.

If only the transit authorities were as eager about making sure the trains were on schedule…