Getting On the Subway Without a MetroCard? Priceless.

Slow progress toward standardizing the payment method for travel throughout the region on ferries, buses, subways and commuter rail hit a turning point with the introduction at PATH stations of special cards that allow you to wave your wallet at the turnstile to get through.

Eventually, of course, the banks will get involved:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, another member of the consortium, plans to test a different payment system in 25 subway stations this spring. In that test, Citigroup and MasterCard International will fit turnstiles with readers that will accept Citibank MasterCard PayPass cards for payment. Those cards, already used at gas stations and grocery stores, are linked to the user’s credit card or bank accounts.

- Tom McGeveran