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OMNY subway reader
Photograph: Shutterstock/Chie In

The MTA's new tap-to-pay OMNY card has arrived

Swiping is so 2020.

Written by
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
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Get ready to say goodbye to swiping onto the subway, which will soon go the way subway tokens.

Two years after introducing new tap-to-pay stations at subway entrances, the MTA has unleashed its OMNY card. The contemporary Metrocard is reloadable with transit fare and is currently only available in select local retail stores. 

The OMNY card, which is plastic like a credit card, can be reloaded via an online account, or in-store with cash. The catch: It costs $5. While Metrocards cost $1 apiece, this shiny new transit ticket is five times more expensive, just for the privilege of tapping rather than swiping. Those who have been using Apple Pay, Apple Cash or other digital wallets to pay for subway fare over the past couple of years may also know the MTA's bigger secret—there's no surcharge for tapping your phone and walking through the turnstyle, making this the cheapest, and for many, easiest option.

OMNY cards can be added to digital wallets, used to pay for multiple passengers at once and used for transfers. The contactless payment system does not yet offer reduced fare benefits, though OMNY is slated to incorporate the MTA's reduced fare program later this year. Paratransit services will also be added during the next phases of the OMNY rollout.

With an OMNY account, you'll be able to look at real-time train schedules and receipts for past trips, which can be helpful for visitors, but locals may not be thrilled that OMNY is simply a pay-per-ride option. No weekly or monthly cards are yet available for OMNY, so regular commuters will have to stick to the humble Metrocard for the foreseeable future.  

OMNY stands for One Metro New York, and aims to be the only transit pass necessary for the subway, bus and commuter rail across New York's Metropolitan area. 

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