The MTA’s conversion from Metrocards to OMNY is taking another step forward… while still being a bit behind.
Almost four years ago, city officials announced that the NYC Subways would be taking the leap to become more digital. Since 2020 we’ve seen our buses and trains adorned with tap-to-pay scanners, which have become a favorite among millennials who prefer the ease of using ApplePay for their daily purchases.
Since then, OMNY has launched its digital experience, which grants commuters access to reload OMNY cards online, an option that commuters have been wanting for MetroCards for years. Digital access allows you to sign up for a free, optional OMNY account to access this and other benefits.
Now coming Summer of 2023 are OMNY vending machines, completing the physical presence by September. The devices are said to sell OMNY cards, granting access to those who do not use tap-to-pay on their phone or bank card. You’ll also be able to load funds to your OMNY card using cash, card, or tap.
As we reported earlier this year, the MTA was expected to phase out MetroCards by 2023, but with the entire OMNY system four behind schedule, MTA officials have become transparent with their bumps in the road. “Getting the vending machines installed so anyone with cash can use the new OMNY system; setting up a system that will allow the Department of Education, Human Resources Administration, and other city agencies to issue discounted fares via OMNY for students and low-income New Yorkers, and bringing pre-tax benefit providers such as WageWorks onboard.”
In case you aren’t familiar, the OMNY system was created to unify MTA’s subways, buses, and commuter railroads into one system to make commuting – and life – easier for New Yorkers. Paying and transferring will be a more seamless process in the near future.
The MTA plans to install OMNY readers on the JFK AirTrain and Roosevelt Island Tramway turnstiles by Thanksgiving 2023. While kinks regarding student MetroCards and Access a Ride are still in the planning phases, whether or not the Long Island Railroad or MetroNorth will be a part of the movement has yet to be announced.
MetroCards are as iconically New York as the Anthora coffee cups, so it’s going to be hard to see them go!