New York subways could actually be Metrocard-free by 2020, thanks to this new app

New York subways could actually be Metrocard-free by 2020, thanks to this new app
The future of your MTA swipe? via Metroki

The MTA has been talking around the idea of replacing the Metrocard for years now, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that they actually asked anyone to help them do it. And with such a fast-track plan to go Metrocard-free by 2020, even city officials are still raising a suspicious eyebrow.

But hey, it turns out that one mobile fare payment app has actually got the MTA’s attention. DNAinfo interviewed Roger and Jeff Flores, the two brothers from Washington Heights behind the startup app Metroki. Flores and Flores invented the app in 2015, and there’s a neat intro video that seems to suggest a future of simply tapping your phone to the side of the turn-style.

The brothers say they’re still waiting to hear back from the MTA on whether this project is a go. But with that $400 million surplus and another fare hike on the horizon, how could it not be?

Personally, we would’ve liked to see a little more internal strategizing on the part of the MTA to come up with solutions of their own for a Metrocard-free system, especially in light of growing competition from Uber. They’ve been in the game for over 50 years, after all. But with Cuomo diverting focus towards drivers instead of commuters for those shiny new toll booths, it’s clear where the transit authority’s priorities are; perhaps outside eyes were our only hope to begin with.


Metroki is also receiving mentorship and strategizing support from Startup 2020. In a recent interview as part of Startup 2020’s Q4 development program, Roger Flores seemed fairly confident about a Metrocard-free future with the brothers’ new app.

“Metrocards are actually going to be eliminated very soon,” he told the interviewer. “There [are] more cellphones being used in New York, and it’ll allow the change of Metrocards to cellphones to be kind of seamless with an app like this.”

With Metroki, Flores claims, you can refill your Metrocard “from the comfort of your own home,” check your balance real-time, and skip all the lines when you’re going down to the train station — like a NEXUS pass for your daily commute!

We’re not the first city to have done this, of course. Boston already has an app for that, and London has introduced Apple Pay into the equation. And even if the MTA goes entirely Metrocard-free, there might be just as long a line of bewildered Hillary Clintons trying desperately to tap their phones to a sensor.

Still, this will be a wild improvement on those awful 0.03 cent balances left behind from all the Metrocards you bought before you wised up (and they did, too).

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