As some of you may be aware, tomorrow the MTA will begin the first phase of their much larger project to phase out the MetroCard and replace it with an updated payment system called OMNY (standing for One Metropolitan New York). Before you fret, don’t worry, the MetroCard will not be officially phased out of existence until 2023. However, some changes will be coming up (you may have seen the new fare card readers on some subway turnstiles around the City), so below is a short summary of the program in case you have any questions.
Under the new OMNY system, riders will be able to use an OMNY card (much like today’s MetroCard except that it will be ‘contactless’ so you scan instead of swipe) when they ride or also use smartphone digital wallets or contactless bank cards if they don’t like carrying around an additional transit card. If you use an OMNY card, you can refill it via an upcoming smartphone app, at a new vending machine, or at retail locations like CVS, Duane Reade, and others.
The first phase of the roll-out begins tomorrow (June 1, 2019), with fare readers installed on the Lexington (4/5/6) line from Grand Central to the Barclays Center, as well as on all Staten Island buses. The MTA will continue the expansion of fare readers across the city until they have equipped every station and bus with them by the end of 2020. Until every turnstile and bus is equipped with a reader, they will only offer ‘pay-per-rides’ and you will only be able to pay via smartphone or contactless bank cards. When every reader has been equipped, they will then roll out their OMNY card as well as unlimited ride options (weekly and monthly) and other payment methods, such as reduced fares. And, as mentioned above, you will still be able to use your MetroCard just as you do today until 2023 so for the majority of you, things won’t change for a while.
You can find the OMNY site here: https://omny.info/
The FAQ here: https://omny.info/faq/how-omny-works
An overview video of OMNY here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUFQKdnTl9Q
As well as an overview of tomorrow’s pilot here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of6_X-Yy2rU&list=PLZHkn788ZQJOiaWX7PfIG-nye7BZGhjD_