NEW YORK CITY — Replacing MetroCards with technology that uses bank cards and smartphones is still years away, but moved closer to reality Monday as the MTA began seeking bids for the project.
The new "contactless" system will allow subway riders to flash credit cards, mobile devices or MTA-issued cards at turnstiles to gain entry, in a manner similar to the E-Z Pass devices on toll roads.
The system is expected to be in place by 2020 and MetroCards will be completely phased out 2022, according to the MTA’s timetable.
The request for bids to install the system is a year later than planned — MTA officials said in January 2015 that they expected to begin accepting bids last March.
Once a company is hired, it's likely to take 15 months to install the system on buses and eight months at subway stations, MTA officials said last year. The estimated pricetag is $450 million.
The contract to design, install and test the system will span 69 months, records show. The MTA anticipates it will save about $6 million a year by eliminating the need to produce MetroCards and maintain the ticket vending machines.
The MTA did not immediately respond to request for more information.