MTA board votes on replacement for the MetroCard

NEW YORK -- New York City's transit agency is changing how bus and subway passengers pay their fares.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is phasing out its MetroCard in favor of something more modern.

An MTA committee on Monday approved a $573 million contract for a new payment system. Instead of riders swiping their MetroCards, the new system will allow them to use their cellphones or certain types of debit or credit cards to pay their fares directly at turnstiles.

The full MTA board voted to approve the bid on Wednesday.

MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota says the changes will bring the way passengers pay into the 21st century.

Officials say the plan is to fully retire the MetroCard by 2023. Until then, riders will still be able to use it.

The MTA also plans to test new safety features - barriers to protect riders.

The agency will test platform safety doors at the Third Avenue station, similar to those used on the AirTrain to JFK Airport.

The doors are designed to prevent the cars from hitting people who jump or fall onto the tracks.

In addition, the MTA is testing foldable seats on the L train that lock into place during rush hour to give riders more standing room.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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