What’s Wrong with the New York Subway Entry?

IMG_7404Have 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.”

Photo credit: The Wall Street Journal
Photo credit: The Wall Street Journal

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… 😦


10 Comments Add yours

  1. koowathanat says:

    Thank you for sharing a good information. I have gone through this experience as you are. It is annoying me.

    1. yunfei says:

      I know I am not alone! It is so annoying! I just don’t get it, as the busiest city in the world, New York has the most outdated machine in their subway. lol

  2. nicolelundergan says:

    This was really informational! I’ve always wondered what exactly happens when I swipe my metrocard and now I know! Looking forward to see what the new system is like but 2019 is a while away!!

    1. yunfei says:

      Actually metrocard has been used since 1993, but they still don’t want to updated it until 2019. It’s already more than 20 years. lol …ok, we shall see.

    2. yunfei says:

      BTW, Nicole, I really like your profile picture! 🙂

  3. 2muchmelo says:

    Hip hip hooray hip hip hooray!!!!!! That sounds like heaven! Your telling me that in 2019 when I’m rushing to the office all I have to do it touch a key pad and “Open Sesame” (2 thumps up to NYC transit). If I’m low on funds I can just swipe my debit card as well? (let’s awesome)let’s hope there no glitches in the system

    1. yunfei says:

      Let’s pray this really happens by 2019. Cause when I was doing this research, I’ve also found some articles from 2010 maybe, that said there would be such system in 4 or 5 years. That means now we should have this system already, but I don’t see anything like that. So let’s hope! 😛

      1. 2muchmelo says:

        Got my fingers crossed

  4. dounialoveny says:

    I like your post Yunfei, I have experienced this many times, sometimes there was a line of annoyed people behind me :s ! I’m glad that they finally decide to change the system.

    1. yunfei says:

      Thank you Dounia! I know this is even more annoying when a bunch of people is behind you. lol Let’s hope they really change this system by 2019.

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