The death knell of the NYC MetroCard has been ringing for years now, with the announcement back in January 2021 that OMNY’s contactless payment system will replace the old-school subway cards by 2023. Well, 2023 is almost over and it looks like the big switch-over is finally happening.
OMNY vending machines will be installed by the MTA at every subway station in New York City—yes, all 472 of them—starting at the following stations as of October 30, 2023:
- 86 St and Lexington Ave
- Atlantic Ave-Barclays Ctr
- Bowling Green
- Fordham Rd
- Fordham Rd
- Junction Blvd
For the analog-minded, the OMNY system allows riders to “tap to pay” on tech-y OMNY readers via their smart devices (iPhones, Fitbits, what have you), contactless bank cards or a physical OMNY card purchased at a retail shop.
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There’s a temporary introductory offer for new OMNY cards for $1—the same price as a new MetroCard. OMNY cards last up to five years, which is more than three years longer than newly issued MetroCards.
Along with the subway vending machines, the transit agency is also planning to install OMNY readers on the turnstiles for the Roosevelt Island Tramway and the JFK AirTrain by Thanksgiving 2023. Whether commuter trains like the Long Island Railroad and MetroNorth will soon accept OMNY payment is still to be seen.
But, despite the high-tech changeover, you don’t have to mourn the loss of the MetroCard just yet. For the time being, you can still take a spirited ride on the subway with a simple swipe of that iconic yellow-and-blue card. Plans to fully phase out MetroCards, as well as their respective card-vending kiosks, by 2024 have been walked back by MTA officials, who reportedly noted in a Monday, April 24 agency meeting that a complete switchover to the OMNY system was indefinitely postponed, per The New York Post.
Since launching in May 2019, the OMNY public rollout has been a beleaguered one, plagued by continued delays and rising costs, the latter of which has grown to $772 million, well up from the $645 million in place when the agency’s deal was approved back in 2017.
But so far, OMNY has posted a 79% fare payment satisfaction rate, according to the MTA. Customers have tapped into all 472 subway stations and boarded 204 local bus routes and 31 express buses. Even cooler, of the 195 countries that issue bank cards, OMNY has processed a card from every single one of them.
OMNY also supports Reduced-Fare customers who can make the switch from MetroCards online with the OMNY digital assistant, which is available 24/7 at OMNY.info.