When it officially launches on Friday, New York City’s contactless fare pilot will have no shortage of options. Following similar announcements from Google and Apple, Fitbit just announced that its own mobile Pay system will work with the MTA program.
Starting Friday, straphangers sporting a Fitbit Charge 3 Special Edition, Versa Special Edition or Fitbit Ionic will be able to use their device to tap and pay for a ride at select subway stations and buses. The pilot is rolling out on the 31st for 4, 5, 6 stops between Manhattan’s Grand Central and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center in Brooklyn, along with all Staten Island buses.
The system uses the smartwatch/trackers’ NFC chip for payment. For starters, things will be limited to single-ride passes, which is probably a deal breaker for many locals who rely on day/week/month passes to save a little on the MTA’s constantly increasing prices. The MTA plans to add additional ride options and branch out to all buses and subway stops by 2021.
For now, however, it’s likely concerned with how the new system will impact foot traffic. Seems likely there will be a bit of a logjam as riders figure out the ins and outs — ultimately, however, it may well save passengers time from not having to fumble for their MetroCard.
Fitbit Pay now also works with transit systems in Chicago, Singapore, Sydney, Taiwan, Vancouver and London.