OMNY readers, which allow New Yorkers to “tap to pay” for their ride instead of swipe an iconic MetroCard, have officially been installed in every single subway station in NYC.
And that means, the end of the MetroCard is near.
The MTA announced the news on New Year’s Eve, saying they finished the roll-out right on schedule, even with the pandemic.
OMNY was officially launched in May of 2019, and since then over 35 million “taps” have been recorded. Customers can simply tap their bank cards or phones (that have digital wallets) on the OMNY reader as they enter the station, instead of having to buy a MetroCard from the machine and add money to it. They say it’s much more convenient for riders, plus it’s more environmentally-friendly.
The recently completed “phase 1” of the multi-year OMNY project includes over 15,000 OMNY readers at all 472 stations, on all 5,800 buses and at Staten Island Railway. Next is Metro North and the LIRR, which are expected to receive OMNY in 2022. The MTA also just started a new marketing program starting called “Tap On, Get On,” that will help educate New Yorkers on exactly how the new process works.
“This is a big day for the MTA,” said Patrick J. Foye, MTA Chairman and CEO. “When we launched OMNY, I knew Al Putre, Wayne Lydon and the entire team we’d assembled to lead this tremendous effort were incredibly talented, but I still couldn’t have imagined what they would encounter in order to make this project a reality. Through it all, they persevered and got it done. Al and his team have truly delivered for our customers.”
For those who do not have a smart phone, they can purchase an OMNY card – a contactless fare card – at retail locations and vending throughout the region as soon as this year. They will also be available to purchase with cash, for those without credit cards. During this year as well, the MTA said they will introduce reduced fares for senior customers and riders with disabilities and begin integrating OMNY with paratransit services.
So what does mean for our classic yellow NYC MetroCards? The MTA says they will be completely phased out by 2023, though you will be able to still use the cards until then.
So you might not want to throw out your expired cards just yet, they may soon be a relic!
featured image source: Shutterstock