OMNY has arrived.
The first new fare payment technology in 25 years, One Metro New York, launched for the New York City riding public Friday.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Commuters can tap credit or debit cards with a Wi-Fi logo, or smart devices, such as phones and watches linked to digital wallets.
The MTA says OMNY will only be available on a full-fare, pay-per-ride basis until every subway station, bus route, and the Staten Island Railway is outfitted with the new technology, meaning you'll still need a MetroCard for the 30-day or 7-day unlimited ride fare.
The MTA said it will allow commuters to purchase OMNY prepaid cards in 2021, and an OMNY app is also being developed. Officials say commuters will be able to pay for the OMNY card with cash, as well as debit and credit cards.
If all goes according to plan, in 2023, the MetroCard will be swiped into history.
WHERE ARE THESE READERS BEING TESTED?
- On the 4, 5, and 6 lines between Grand Central-42nd Street and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center.
- On all Staten Island buses.
By the end of next year, every station and bus across the city will be equipped with OMNY.
THE FIRST TAP
MTA executives, along with students from Transit Tech High School, had the honor of taking the first tap through the turnstiles at the Bowling Green station.
"The MetroCard has served New York well for the last 25 years, but the time has come to be replaced by OMNY," MTA Chairman Patrick Foye said.
"I saw it happen in London; it's transformative," New York City Transit President Andy Byford said.
The launch was not completely seamless: it did take a few tries before some riders got the green light, meaning commuters will have to learn how to craft the perfect tap.
The contactless readers were first available for MTA employees to test out in March.
TAP VS. SWIPE
MTA officials say the tap is going to be faster than the swipe. Riders we spoke to said tapping for a ride is better than struggling with a MetroCard.
"It's similar to the Oyster card system in London a little bit," one rider said. "It's a lot more simple. You don't have to keep swiping."
Another rider said this type of technology becoming more common in society.
"I pay with stuff on my phone, so it's something I can gradually get used to," she said.
Some riders already find it convenient.
"I'm thrilled it works because my MetroCard has no cash on it," one rider said. "I thought it would take a long time to refill, but I see I can do it on my phone, so I'm pretty stoked."
The MTA will also make its own reloadable cards, accommodating unlimited passes and cash trips in two years.
The slow rollout of the OMNY fare payment system will give the MTA time to fix any problems.
In the meantime, riders will have four years left with the MetroCard before it retires.
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