The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today moved to expand the use of smart cards throughout the New York-New Jersey region by agreeing to develop a regional smart card program to help other transit agencies prepare for the future use of the technology on their systems.
The Board also approved plans to allow smart cards to be used at the AirTrain Newark and AirTrain JFK stations.
Smart cards – plastic cards the size of a credit card that contain a microchip – are designed to be accepted eventually on subway, bus and rail lines throughout the region. Today’s Board action will allow the Port Authority to work closely with other regional transit agencies to develop potential business and revenue opportunities that could result from a regional smart card.
The Port Authority already has begun to install new PATH turnstiles that accept New York City Transit MetroCards in addition to PATH QuickCards and will accept smart cards by June 2005.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “This action furthers the Port Authority’s initiatives to better integrate the region’s mass transit systems, which eventually will provide thousands of people with a more convenient way to travel. It is this type of visionary planning that will greatly improve the quality of life for those who live and work here, and ultimately will contribute to regional economic growth.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “Many New Yorkers rely on mass transit each day to get to their jobs or to visit family or friends. Our job is to make their trips as easy and hassle-free as possible. By helping other transit agencies implement smart card technology, we will greatly improve the commute for those who travel by rail, bus or subway.”
Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler said, “In addition to the help we will provide to other mass transit agencies, our plans also call for investing nearly $2 million to make sure smart cards can be accepted on our highly successful airport rail services – AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark. This will greatly improve the ability of travelers to transfer between different transit modes when traveling to or from the airports.”
Transit customers will be able to link smart card accounts to a credit card or replenish accounts by check or money order. Customers also will be able to add money to smart cards by cash, credit or debit cards using vending machines located in PATH stations.