It’s been a long and bumpy ride, albeit certainly a memorable one. But, as they say, all good things come to an end: the ubiquitous MetroCard machines that have been peppering our subway stations since 1999 are going to be phased out in “the not-so-distant future,” according to a tweet by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
The ticket dispensers will officially be replaced with OMNY vending machines, the tap-to-pay stations that have already been installed across certain stations. According to Curbed, “the switch […] will be complete by the end of 2023.”
Although this isn’t the first time that the city moves forward with changes concerning our decrepit-but-still-essential subway system (subway tokens!), the updates feel bittersweet. There is just something about the colorful machines that is so utterly New York.
Usually disinclined to profess their love for anything concerning the city’s transportation system, New Yorkers have taken to social media to—gasp!—sorrowfully mourn the imminent passing of the ticket machines, a fact that points to the stature of the objects within the local cultural canon.
“I’m in mourning,” one Twitter user wrote on the platform.
“Idk why this makes me damn sad :/,” yet another commented.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” a third user noted matter-of-factly.
Alas, it’s time to move on. Although we’ll surely miss the familiar sight of the dispensers in the near future, we have to make one admission: we absolutely love the OMNY machines. They are easy to use (just tap!), don’t require extra card storage in our wallets and they, hopefully, shed some minutes off commutes.
That being said: thank you for all your help throughout the years, MetroCard vending machine.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.