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Tap-and-go payment for public transit is coming to NYC by 2025

May 31 2024

New York City rolled out the One Metro New York contactless payment system five years ago, but thanks to a slew of issues, less than half of subway riders currently use OMNY. For example, passengers who are entitled to discounted fares (like students) can’t use it if they expect to get a cheaper ride, and people living in the greater New York transit system are also unable to take advantage of the system.

“We saw consistently that there was confusion,” said Janno Lieber, CEO and chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

In hopes of increasing OMNY users, the MTA is demoting Cubic Corporation, the contractor behind its original rollout, and will begin working with the team behind the popular app MTA TrainTime, which has a 4.9-star rating in the Apple App Store.

OMNY will be integrated with MTA TrainTime, and riders will soon be able to use the app’s tap-and-go function across the MTA’s extensive transport system, including the Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road. The updated app will also bring upgrades like modernized ticket machines, according to a MTA press release issued May 20.

“This is the best way to get this done as quickly as possible so that we don’t have any interruption in the quality of our ticketing service,” said Jamie Torres-Springer, the MTA’s construction and development president, in an interview with Streetsblog New York City.

The MTA says it plans to implement a contactless fare payment system for most consumers by the end of 2024 and will further roll it out across subway, bus and paratransit systems by the end of 2025.

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“We have the ability to issue tickets to railroad riders that can then be used to ride the subway in an integrated fare, to create pay-as-you-go on the railroad — we have the flexibility for that,” Torres-Springer said.

OMNY tap and go. OMNY

When the new system is complete, customers will be able to use their contactless credit or debit card, smartphone, wearable device or OMNY card for tap-and-go payment to ride the subway and bus in addition to trains. Once this happens, the old-school yellow MetroCard will be retired, though its expiration date has been “indefinitely” postponed, as Streetsblog New York City first reported.

OMNY rollout timeline. OMNY

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