NYC Meet OMNY: MTA Rolls Out New Tap-And-Go Fare System

May 31, 2019 - 1:28 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The slow goodbye to the MetroCard began Friday as the MTA is taking a huge step forward with a new tap-and-go fare payment system.

All of the turnstiles at Grand Central are equipped now with screens that allow riders to enter the system with a touch of their smartphone or a tap of a credit card.

"OMNY's designed to save New Yorkers their most precious commodity, their time," MTA Chairman Pat Foye said as he launched the system at the Bowling Green station.

Riders had mixed opinions.

"I've seen it before in London so I know this should work just fine, but I'm just at a MetroCard for right now," one rider said.

"I've heard about it. I've noticed it, but it's convenient," another rider said.

"I'm actually a fan, I think using your iPhone is easier," another said. 

"It's going to be a challenge but eventually I think people will get the hang of it," one straphanger said. 

For those concerned about cyber security, Foye says nothing is changing.

"Data's going to be encrypted from the moment you use your device or credit card to storage. It's the same process as someone going to a MetroCard machine with a credit card today," Foye said.

For now, riders will only be able to use OMNY, which stands for One Metro New York, for single full fare rides and there are no discounts. It does not apply to weekly or monthly MetroCards.

The new system is up and running at 16 subway stations along the 4, 5 and 6 lines between Grand Central and Barclays Center, as well as on all Staten Island buses.

The MTA said contactless payment will not be systemwide until the fall of 2020. It will eventually replace MetroCards, which will be phased out at the end of 2023.