Agency Promises A Faster Ride Under New Policy, But Riders Say Not Being Able To Use Coins Eliminates All Forms Of Convenience


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Commuter are complaining after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority decided to make express buses cashless.

People are now only allowed on board with a MetroCard.

It’s causing a headache for many riders who are asking whose bright idea was this?

It’s a one-way ticket to frustration for many New Yorkers.

MTA express buses are now cashless, which is drawing the ire of a lot of riders around the city. (Photo: CBS2)

“It’s just an inconvenience for everybody,” Riverdale’s Donna Clide told CBS2’s Reena Roy.

“It’s going to be kind of hard for some of us,” another person said.

People who rely on MTA express buses are now unable to pay the $6.75 fare with coins. Instead, they can only use a MetroCard to board.

“With the change in the last week or so I’ve seen three people or so go to put change in and they were not aware of the fact that buses no longer taking change,” said Chris Heeg of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

The new rule went into effect on April 21. Many say it’s especially inconvenient because express bus stops in the outer boroughs are often far from subway stations, meaning MetroCard purchases are not a last-minute option.

For example, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx at Knolls Crescent and Kappock Street.

When asked how far of a walk it is, one woman said, “Around a 20-minute walk. Ya gotta walk down the hill and go up the stairs and everything.”

FLASHBACK: Audit: NYC Express Buses Not On Schedule 30 Percent Of The Time

In Fresh Meadows, Queens, at Union Turnpike and 188th Street.

“You have to go all the way down to Queens Boulevard and come back this way,” one rider said.

And at Shore Road and 72nd Street in Bay Ridge.

“The problem is gravity because it’s uphill from here,” Heeg said. “It’s difficult.”

But the MTA says there are easy ways for commuters to plan ahead, saying authorized MetroCard retailers all over the city can be a big help for those who live far from a subway station.

For regulars, they also suggest setting up an EasyPayXpress MetroCard, which refills automatically with a linked credit card or bank account.

Officials say less than 1 percent of customers used coins in the past, a form of payment that slowed down service. They’re promising a faster ride with this new policy.

Local buses still accept coins.

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