Interesting NYT article about the MTA's MetroCard and how farecard policy shapes things. One policy idea I've never seen anyone but me propose but that I maintain would be a good idea would be for the federal government to pony up the relatively small amount of money it would cost to start constructing a nationwide transit farecard system that local rail and bus authorities could join if they were so inclined (and they should be encouraged to be inclined).

Actual fares would still be different in DC, Boston, Chicago, New York, LA, etc. but the idea would be to make it the case that over time a single card and single account could get you on the train or the bus all across America. Just like how these days EZ Pass works on highway systems all over the place. It wouldn't work for things like unlimited ride weekly passes, but it should work great for single ride trips, and would make it much easier for visitors to this place or that to take advantage of local transit offerings.