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Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to pay with cash after MTA MetroCard machines disappear

You'll start seeing OMNY vending machines in the first part of 2023.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan

When we saw MTA’s semi-cryptic Tweet a few weeks ago about the impending demise of the MetroCard Machine, we—like a lot of people in their mentions—had some questions. Namely, we wanted to know if the new OMNY vending machines will accept cash, when the new machines will be showing up, and how they’ll work.  

RECOMMENDED: Everything you need to know about using OMNY, the MetroCard replacement

Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

They will take cash

For your visiting relatives who insist on paying in cash, for those who don’t have a credit card, and for the more privacy-minded among us (more on that in a second), you’ll be happy to know that OMNY vending machines will accept cash, MTA confirmed.

In addition to the OMNY vending machines in the stations, MTA also recommends using an extensive network of retail locations (including some CVS and Walgreens stores) where you can refill your card with cash.

Purchasing a new OMNY card will cost $5.

They’ll roll out next year

OMNY vending machines will begin rolling out in the system in the first half of 2023, pending successful hardware and software testing, per MTA. To accommodate OMNY vending machine installations, some MetroCard vending machines will be removed. Both systems will be available for customer use until the MetroCard is retired at a later date.

It’s contactless

OMNY is all about contactless payments. To pay your fare at subway turnstiles and on buses, you can tap your own contactless credit or debit card, smart device, or OMNY card on the OMNY reader.

While it's not clear yet exactly how the OMNY vending machines will work, early designs indicate that transit riders will be encouraged to use tap-to-pay transactions, especially with their phones, Fast Company reported. The new kiosks will be operated by Cubic Corp.

There are some privacy risks

For those concerned about privacy, local publication Hell Gate took a deep dive worth reading, which states that selling data to third parties is not permitted under MTA policy. 

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