Have you ever experienced this? When you are in a hurry, you rush into a subway station, you grab your card from your bag or your pocket, you swipe the card and try to get through the entry ASAP, but the machine will always tell you “Please swipe again”! What?! I’ve already done that, OK? What’s wrong with the damn machine?! It looks like, the more you want to go through, the more the machine will prevent you from that.
I was so frustrated by the whole process, so I did some research and I found this article that titled “Swipe it, Swipe it good” from The Wall Street Journal:
…the machines are virtually designed to ruin your day.
For starters, your MetroCard must hit four sensors before you gain admission to the twilight world of the New York City subway system. The first sensor verifies that you’re indeed swiping a MetroCard rather than, say, your D’Agostino’s Rewards card. The second ascertains that the card is flush enough to afford the fare; the third deducts the fare; and the fourth opens the gate.
“If the card doesn’t go completely through the sensor,” Mr. Foley explained, “it’s not going to work. It’s got to be level.”
The speed of the swipe is also crucial—it can’t be too fast or too slow. The optimum is described rather disturbingly by Paul Fleuranges, NYC Transit’s vice president for corporate communications: “a steady swipe—like a punch to the gut.”
Aha…So why do they want to have this kind of machine in such a busy city’s subway station?! As I know, most of the cities that have a metro system, they use a sensor card system(RFID card, NFC card, etc), such as London, Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Moscow, Beijing, Shanghai, Mexico City, etc. All you have to do is to place your card near the sensor, and you can immediately go through.
Fortunately I found this exciting news: by 2019, MTA plans to implement a “contactless system to replace the MetroCard. Maybe we don’t even need to get another card. We might also use a credit or debit card as well, or even smartphones! Hooray!!!
But still 5 more years to wait… 😦