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Goodbye swipe, hello tap: MTA wants to replace MetroCards

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NEW YORK — Those flimsy MetroCards may be a thing of the past by 2018.

The MTA announced Wednesday a New Fare Payment System proposal that won't require New Yorkers to swipe but instead tap for a ride. It's an account-based system in which riders would pay for subways and buses using their smartphones, bank cards or a MTA-issued "smart cards," according to the solicitation notice.

This would encourage straphangers to pay online, the agency said.

London riders have been using the Oyster Card for over a decade. The card allows people to simply tap the card to enter the station. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

London riders have been using the Oyster Card for over a decade. The card allows people to simply tap the card to enter the station. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The MTA is planning to spend $419 million to implement the new system through 2019. They hope to start testing it by 2018 and completely phase out MetroCards by 2021.

The MTA has experimented with various payment methods since the 1940s. Before the MetroCard was introduced in 1994, riders paid with nickels and dimes, then with subway tokens until it was completely nixed on April 13, 2003.

The new proposal would follow cities such as London and Boston who already use the "tap-and-go" system. London riders have been tapping their Oyster cards for over a decade. Bostonians fill CharlieCards with money to tap into the stations.