New York

‘OMNY' Tap-and-Go Payment System for NYC Subway, Buses Will Start for Some in May

The first phase will start for some customers in May

What to Know

  • The new MetroCard replacement will be a tap and go system called OMNY, short for One Metro New York
  • Phase 1 of the new system will start for some customers starting in May
  • The contactless payment system is similar to that in London and other international cities

The new tap-and-go system of paying fares at New York City's subways and buses will start as soon as May for some customers.

The MetroCard replacement will be called OMNY -- short for One Metro New York -- and features a contactless payment system similar to London and other international mass transit networks, transit officials said. 

The MTA says that beginning in May, customers will be able to use a contactless card or smart device to tap and go on board all Staten Island buses and at subway stations on the 4, 5 and 6 lines between Grand Central-42nd Street and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center. Some of the contactless machines, designed by Cubic, have been spotted recently at the 33rd Street station on the 6 line.

Pay-per-ride fares will also be available with OMNY starting in May, without any advance purchase required. The system will expand over several months to include payment options like reduced fares and time-based passes. 

The MetroCard will stick around as the new system is phased in over several years, first on subways and buses and then on commuter rail. 

The MTA first announced in the fall of 2017 it would be getting rid of MetroCards and replacing the current turnstiles with contactless card readers. The new payment method was expected to be available at every turnstile throughout the city by 2020, with as many as 500 contactless readers installed at subways and 600 in buses by next year.

The idea is that straphangers would be able to use smartphones, certain debit and credit cards or other devices embedded with near-field communication chips to get onto their train.

Mobile ticketing readers were first installed at the Bowling Green and Wall Street stops as part of a pilot program available only to MTA employees. 

Metro-North and LIRR already use electronic smartphone tickets, and the change should allow commuters to more easily transfer between the subway and rails.

The MTA has estimated it won’t eliminate MetroCards for another five years in 2023 (It took eight years to phase out the old token system.)

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