The subway’s new contactless payment system begins slow rollout Friday

Subway turnstiles.
Subway turnstiles.
Saaton/Shutterstock
Subway turnstiles.

The subway’s new contactless payment system begins slow rollout Friday

The One Metro New York system will allow riders use a phone or contactless card, rather than swipe a MetroCard.
May 30, 2019

A new contactless payment system in New York City’s subways and buses will begin its gradual rollout on Friday – the first step in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s planned replacement of the MetroCard. The OMNY system – short for “One Metro New York” – will allow riders to hold a phone or contactless card up to an electronic reader to pay with the help of a technology called “near-field communication,” rather than swiping a MetroCard.

OMNY payment will only be available in 16 subway stations and Staten Island buses, with select availability continuing until the end of next year. At the outset, riders will only be able to pay full fare using the contactless payment, making the first phase somewhat useless to anyone using a weekly or monthly MetroCard or a discounted card. In a demonstration of just how long it can take to modernize New York City’s transit system, the MTA has announced that OMNY’s full replacement of the MetroCard – the goal for the authority – won’t be completed until 2023.

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Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
20190619