It’s a pilot program, available only at the 4, 5 and 6 subway stations between Grand Central in Manhattan and Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center in Brooklyn and on Staten Island buses, where there are new, specially equipped turnstiles which can read your contactless credit, debit, or reloadable prepaid card, or the digital wallet on your mobile phone or wearable
The system is called OMNY, an acronym for One Metro New York.
It’s a play on the word “omni”, which means all, or everywhere, and the MTA hopes all of us will use it one day, everywhere in the MTA system.
That’s assuming, of course, that everybody will have modern phones or credit cards capable of such so-called contactless payment, and that the millions of overseas visitors to NYC with foreign phone systems and digital wallet payment systems will be able to access the NYC system.
Fare restrictions for the new contactless pay
For the roll-out, OMNY is available only as a full fare, single ride payment option, until the technology is installed and launched across the entire NYC subway and bus system.
The MTA expects to offer weekly, monthly and discounted fares sometime next year.
Which means seniors, students, disabled and others with discounted fares who use OMNY would be paying the full single fare price until 2020 if they choose to ditch their MetroCards for the new high-tech system.
Just tap to pay
Starting May 31, you can use OMNY with:
Your own contactless card
- Most banks and financial institutions already started issuing contactless cards. Contactless cards have this symbol on the front or back:
- If you don’t have a contactless card, you can request one from your bank or financial institution.
Your own smart device
- Link your preferred payment methods to a digital wallet on your mobile phone or wearable.
- Many digital wallets can be used with OMNY.
Google also is adding its real-time assistant to the program so you can find out when the next train is arriving, instead of looking at the digital monitors on platforms.
And, users can just ask their Google phone, “Hey Google, when is the next 4 train arriving?”
It’s expected Apple will have the same capability with Siri.
The MTA will activate a “pay per ride” feature on smartphones that will allow riders to pay for trips without even opening the app — at the same rate as a single-ride MetroCard.
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