Ticket vending machines in New York City's subway system will temporarily not accept credit and debit cards for part of June 22, while the city's Metropolitan Transportation Authority performs a system upgrade to its mainframe.
Riders will still be able to load funds to their fare cards using cash during the 10-hour payments card outage, which is expected to run from 2 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
The TVMs allow riders to purchase and reload funds onto MetroCards, the fare card used by the city's subways and buses, the Roosevelt Island Tram and a monorail train that runs between terminals at the John F. Kennedy International Airport, called the AirTrain.
Some of the TVMs also let riders load funds to the SmartLink fare card accepted by the Path train, a separate underground transit system that connects New Jersey and Manhattan across the Hudson River.
Deirdre Parker, an MTA press liaison, says the system upgrade involves the relocation of the MTA's mainframe operations. She declined to explain why the TVMs will still be able to take cash, but not cards, citing "reasons of security."
The MTA handles credit/debit transactions on behalf of the Port Authority for PATH and the JFK AirTrain, Parker says. While Path riders can pay for single-ride fares with a MetroCard or SmartLink card, weekly and monthly Path passes can be used only with the SmartLink card. The Port Authority did respond to a request for comment.
The MetroCard is a mag-stripe card, while the SmartLink card is a contactless card. In 2010, the MTA, Port Authority and New Jersey Transit participated in a six-month, interagency contactless fare pilot program. The initiative began with MasterCard-branded cards, and was later expanded to include Visa-branded commuter benefits cards.
In 2011, the MTA developed plans to implement a contactless fare system, but the effort has not materialized into a developing a permanent contactless fare system. Meanwhile, in Chicago, disparate transit agencies are working to develop an open fare system across local and commuter public transit.