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New York's NFC payments for public transit are five years away

And that's a conservative estimate.
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Spencer Platt via Getty Images

The move toward a more futuristic modern New York City is going to be a slow one. The MTA recently opened up the bidding process (PDF) for replacing Gotham's existing MetroCard readers with NFC terminals for busses and trains, but the contracts are expected to last 69 months. So if you were hoping to tap your phone to hitch a ride sometime soon, that won't happen until deep into 2021 at the earliest.

The MTA says it will pick up 100 percent of the tab for this. However, bidders must display that they're capable of completing every aspect of the job including setting up the network to handle payments and monitoring turnstiles -- something that almost assuredly rules out LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. Estimated cost? At least $10 million, but The Verge notes that a 2014 estimate projected a $450 budget. That's a hell of a disparity.

In case you can't wait for over five years to use your phone for getting around NYC, remember that the new contactless parking meters should be finished by year's end. Oh, and the subways will have WiFi in 2016 as well. Baby steps, everyone.

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