OMNY
LocationNew York City, United States
LaunchedMay 31, 2019
Technology
ManagerMetropolitan Transportation Authority
CurrencyDollar
Websiteomny.info

OMNY (short for One Metro New York) is a contactless fare payment system being proposed for use on transportation networks in New York City and the surrounding area. OMNY will replace the MetroCard currently in use on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)'s and other transit networks around New York City. When it is completely rolled out, it will be used on the New York City Subway, Staten Island Railway, and MTA buses, as well as the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, which do not currently use MetroCard. Other systems that currently use MetroCard (including Bee-Line and NICE Bus), as well as bus systems not part of the MetroCard network (including Suffolk County Transit), may also switch to using OMNY.

The MetroCard, a magnetic stripe card, was first introduced in 1992 and was used to pay fares on MTA subways and buses, as well as on other networks such as the PATH train. Two limited contactless-payment trials were conducted around the New York City area in 2006 and in 2010. However, dedicated planning for a wholesale replacement of the MetroCard did not start until 2016. The new OMNY fare payment system, to be designed by San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems, will be implemented in phases from 2019 to 2023.

Predecessors

RFID trial on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line

Starting in 1992, MetroCards made by Cubic Transportation Systems replaced the subway tokens that had been used as the subway's form of fare payment from the 1950s on. The MetroCards used magnetic stripes to encode the fare payment. By 2003, the MetroCard was the exclusive method of fare payment systemwide.[1]

Since the 2000s, there have been programs to replace the MetroCard itself. In the first program, introduced in early 2006, the MTA signed a deal with MasterCard to test out a new radio-frequency identification card payment scheme.[2] Customers had to sign up at a special MasterCard website and use a MasterCard PayPass credit or debit card/tag to participate. Participating stations included IRT Lexington Avenue Line (4, ​5, ​6, and <6> trains) from the Third Avenue–138th Street and 138th Street–Grand Concourse stations in the Bronx to Borough Hall in Brooklyn, as well as the Court Square–23rd Street in Queens for the E, ​M, 7, and <7>​ trains.[3] Originally scheduled to end in December 2006, the trial was extended into 2007 due to "overwhelming positive response".[4]

In light of the success of the first PayPass pilot project in 2006, another trial was started by the MTA. This one started on June 1, 2010, and ended on November 30, 2010. The first two months started with the customer just using the MasterCard PayPass debit or credit card.[5][6][7][8] However, this trial was the debut of having a rider use the VISA PayWave debit or credit card to enter the system, which started on August 1, 2010.[9] For six months, a rider could use either a MasterCard Paypass or VISA PayWave credit/debit card to pay for a fare on an expanded list of subway and bus routes.[10][11][note 1]

Permanent replacement

In 2016, the MTA announced that it would begin designing a new contactless fare payment system to replace the MetroCard.[12][13] The system would probably use phone- and bank card-based payment systems like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.[13] In April 2016, MTA solicited proposals for a contactless "New Fare Payment System" to replace the MetroCard by 2022.[14] The replacement system was planned for partial implementation as early as 2018.[15]

In October 2017, the MTA started installing eTix-compatible electronic ticketing turnstiles in 14 stations in Manhattan. The eTix system, already used on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, allows passengers to pay their fares using their phones. The system would originally be for MTA employees only.[16] On October 23, 2017, it was announced that the MetroCard would be phased out and replaced by a contactless fare payment system also by Cubic, with fare payment being made using Apple Pay, Google Wallet, debit/credit cards with near-field communication enabled, or radio-frequency identification cards.[17][18] The October 23 announcement calls for the expansion of this system to a general-use electronic fare payment system at 500 subway turnstiles and 600 buses by late 2018, with all buses and subway stations using electronic fare collection by 2020. However, support of the MetroCard is slated to remain until 2023.[18] The unnamed replacement fare system has been criticized because the new turnstiles could be hacked, thereby leaving credit card and phone information vulnerable to theft.[19]

Trial

In June 2018, the MTA announced that the new fare system would be rolled out on a limited basis in May 2019. By 2021, the new fare payment method would be available across the transit system, and by 2023, the MetroCard would be phased out entirely.[20] The fare payment system was officially given the "OMNY" title in February 2019, and MTA workers were set to pilot the system starting in the first week of March.[21] At that point, it was announced that the public could use the system at sixteen subway stations[note 2] as well as on Staten Island bus routes beginning in May 2019. At first, smart devices and credit/debit cards would be used as methods of payment, and prepaid OMNY cards would be rolled out later.[22][23][24] All stations would receive OMNY readers by October 2020, in preparation for the launch of an OMNY card by February 2021.[25][26]:13 OMNY vending machines would be installed by March 2022.[26]:13

The internal trial launched in March 2019 involved over 1,100 MTA employees as well as 300 other participants. Over 1,200 readers were being installed in subway stations and buses for the public trial, and the OMNY.info website was created.[26]:14–15 The OMNY trial was launched on May 31, 2019,[27][28][29] at which point $85.4 million had been spent on the project, out of a total budget of $644.7 million.[26]:14 During the initial trial, Mastercard started offering "Fareback Fridays" where it would refund up to two rides made using OMNY on Fridays.[30][31]

In the future, the MTA plans to launch a mobile app, add OMNY readers to Access-a-Ride paratransit vehicles, and add readers on Select Bus Service buses to support all-door boarding.[26]:17 However, at a presentation in May 2019, the MTA's Capital Program Oversight Committee expressed concerns that some bank cards would not be accepted, and that OMNY transactions could take longer than MetroCard transactions, increasing crowding at turnstiles.[26]:21

Future plans

As of 2019, the MTA also plans to use OMNY in the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad over "the next several years".[32]

Notes

  1. ^ The following bus routes and subway stations participated in the trial: Two options were available during this second trial for fare payment:
    • "pay-as-you-go" RFID card scan at select turnstiles or locations; or,
    • pre-funded fares via a pilot website called the "NY/NJ Transit Trial" for multiple and unlimited ride discounts. Pre-funded fares ceased to be available on the trial website on October 16, 2010, and the free trial ended on November 30, 2010.
  2. ^ The stations being tested are from Grand Central-42nd Street to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, along the 4, ​5, ​6, and <6> trains.

References

  1. ^ "About NYC Transit - History". October 19, 2002. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  2. ^ "NYC Subway-Mastercard Trial". engadget.com. February 1, 2006. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
  3. ^ Chan, Sewell (January 31, 2006). "A Test at 25 Stations Subway Riding Without the Swiping". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  4. ^ "The Future of the MetroCard Part 3". Second Ave. Sagas. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  5. ^ "MTA | news | MTA Launches Smart Card Pilot Program". www.mta.info. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  6. ^ Contactless Fare Payment Pilot on YouTube – MTA's YouTube website. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  7. ^ MasterCard Tap & Go Payment System Enhances Commuter Experience on YouTube – Mastercard Worldwide YouTube website. Made May 28, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  8. ^ Kaminer, Ariel (June 11, 2010). "Testing PayPass on New York's Buses and Trains". The New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  9. ^ "NY/NJ Transit Trial – About the Trial – FAQ". Internet Archive. November 21, 2010. Archived from the original on November 21, 2010. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  10. ^ "The ERA Bulletin 2010-07". Issuu. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  11. ^ "About the Trial". Internet Archive. November 18, 2010. Archived from the original on November 18, 2010. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  12. ^ "Finally: The MTA Has an Approved Capital Program". WNYC. June 1, 2015. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Smith, Dave (January 11, 2016). "All New York City subway stations will have WiFi by the end of this year". Business Insider. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  14. ^ Rivoli, Dan; Gregorian, Dareh (April 12, 2016). "MTA to solicit proposals for 'New Fare Payment System,' taking first step in finding MetroCard replacement". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  15. ^ Siff, Andrew (September 11, 2017). "MetroCard Replacement Is Coming Soon: MTA". NBC New York. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  16. ^ Rivoli, Dan (October 6, 2017). "MTA testing new tech that could replace MetroCard". NY Daily News. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  17. ^ Rivoli, Dan (October 23, 2017). "MTA approves plan to scrap MetroCards for 'tap' payment system". NY Daily News. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  18. ^ a b Barron, James (October 23, 2017). "New York to Replace MetroCard With Modern Way to Pay Transit Fares". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  19. ^ Barron, James (October 27, 2017). "New Fare System Raises Security Concerns, but Officials Promise Safety". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  20. ^ "MetroCards to start tapping out in May". am New York. June 13, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  21. ^ "MTA to begin pilot for MetroCard replacement next week". New York Post. February 22, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  22. ^ "MTA: OMNY will be phased in to replace MetroCards in NYC". ABC7 New York. February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  23. ^ "No More MetroCards? MTA To Test New Fare System Where Riders Pay Using Smartphone". CBS New York. February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  24. ^ "MTA to phase out MetroCard: Out with the swipe, in with the tap". News 12 The Bronx. February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  25. ^ "Avoiding replacing the MetroCard with ... chaos". am New York. April 2, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  26. ^ a b c d e f "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. May 20, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  27. ^ "6,000 tap into new MTA fare system on first full day". am New York. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  28. ^ Chung, Jen. "OMNY Is Alive: MTA Opens Up Tap Payment System In Limited Subway Pilot". Gothamist. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  29. ^ "MTA begins rollout of 'tap-and-go' fare payment system". brooklyn.news12.com. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  30. ^ "New York's MTA Gets Apple Pay and Google Pay: Here's How to Set It Up". Fortune. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  31. ^ "Fareback Fridays Promotion". www.mastercard.us. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  32. ^ "Say hello to tap and go, with OMNY". MTA. Retrieved February 24, 2019.

External links

  • OMNY – official site