This is a new site and I still need more information. If you have
anything remotely relevant or interesting, send it to the email address
The MetroCard is a magnetic strip debit card used in subway stations throughout
the United States. The MetroCard system is rumored to be extremely secure
The card is used by swiping it though a raised slot at designated turnstyles. Less than a second after the card is swiped, the remaining value on the card is displayed on a small screen and the person is permiited to walk through the turnstyle.
Swiping the card too fast or too slow causes the machine to reject it. When purchasing a card, at the tokenbooth, the employee swipes a card through a POS device (like the one in McDonalds), punches in some numbers. and then hands you the card. Rumors are that the MetroCard is uncrackable because it is a server based system. Some people dispute this fact because of the devastating consequenses of a server going down.
So, does the MetroCard contain only a serial number or is the value written to the card (like the VendCard copy machines)? Or does it contain both a serial number AND the value? And if so, is such a complex system really worth our tax dollars?
. I decided to go down and see for myself. At one of the 2600 meetings in NYC, we swiped a MetroCard though a cardreader - then went to use the card - and then read the card again. Lo and behold, the information on the card was different! So it has been determined that something is written to the card- likely to be it's value. The MetroCard does not follow the ANSI BCD or ANSI Alpha magnetic strip formats used on credit cards and ATM cards, so the actual information on the card is still a mystery.
The blue picture with the barcodes is really the bit pattern of the MetroCard read off of track 2. A white line represents a 1 and a blue line represents a 0. The top barcode is the MetroCard with a value of $5.00 the bottom one if the same card with a value of $3.75 The card used is the same card illustrated in the bitmaps above. Some of you might be able to make a connection between the raw data and the numbers printed on the back of the card (click on the right picture for an enlarged view). Below is the card data in text format. If you come up with any more information, please send it!
MetroCard with $5.00
Track 2 MetroCard with $3.75