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OMNY (short for One Metro New York, pronounced like "omni") is a contactless fare payment system, currently being implemented for use on public transit in New York City and the surrounding area. When OMNY is completely rolled out, it will replace the MetroCard on the New York City Subway, the Staten Island Railway, PATH trains, MTA buses, Bee-Line buses, and NICE buses. OMNY will also expand beyond the current scope of the MetroCard to the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad.

OMNY logo.svg
LocationNew York City, United States
LaunchedMay 31, 2019
OperatorCubic Transportation Systems
ManagerMetropolitan Transportation Authority
CurrencyUnited States dollar

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.[1][2] However, formal planning for a full replacement of the MetroCard did not start until 2016.[3]

The OMNY system is designed by San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems, using technology licensed from Transport for London's Oyster card.[4][5] OMNY began its public rollout in May 2019, with contactless bank cards and mobile payments accepted at select subway stations and on buses in Staten Island.[6] Full implementation is expected in 2023.


Contactless trial on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line, 2007

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.[7]

Payment system trialsEdit

MasterCard and Citibank funded a trial of contactless payments, branded as PayPass. The trial was conducted at 25 subway stations, mostly on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line,[note 2] beginning in July 2006. The trial was limited to select Citibank cardholders, but it proved popular enough to be extended past its original end date of December 2006.[1][8][9][10]

In light of the success of the first contactless payment trial in 2006, another trial was conducted from June—November 2010.[11][2] The 2010 trial initially only supported MasterCard-branded cards, expanding to Visa PayWave cards in August.[12][13] The 2010 trial eventually expanded to include multiple Manhattan bus routes, two New Jersey Transit bus routes, and most PATH stations.[note 3]


OMNY readers at Canal Street, 2019

In 2016, the MTA announced that it would begin designing a new contactless fare payment system to replace the MetroCard.[14][15][3] The replacement system was initially planned for partial implementation in 2018 and full implementation by 2022.[16] 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.[17]

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, Samsung Pay, debit/credit cards with near-field communication enabled, or radio-frequency identification cards.[18][19] The announcement called for a phased rollout, culminating in the discontinuation of the MetroCard by 2023.[19] The replacement fare system was criticized because the new turnstiles could be hacked, thereby leaving credit card and phone information vulnerable to theft.[20]


Staten Island buses were among the first to utilize OMNY readers[21]

In June 2018, the MTA revised the timeline for implementation of the then-unnamed new payment system. The first stage of implementation would take place in May 2019. All subway stations would receive OMNY readers by October 2020, in preparation for the launch of a prepaid OMNY card by February 2021.[22][23]:13 OMNY vending machines would be installed by March 2022,[23]:13 and the MetroCard would be discontinued in 2023.[24]

Initially, there were disagreements about what the payment system should be called; some executives wanted a "traditional" name that resembled the MetroCard's name, while others wanted more unusual names. Possible names included "MetroTap", "Tony", "Liberty" and "Pretzel". The name "OMNY" was eventually chosen as being "modern and universal".[25][26] The OMNY name was announced in February 2019. "OMNY" is an acronym of "One Metro New York," intended to signify its eventual broad acceptance across the New York metropolitan area.[27]

An internal trial launched in March 2019, involving over 1,100 MTA employees and 300 other participants. Over 1,200 readers were installed in subway stations and buses for the public trial, and the website was created.[23]:14–15[28] OMNY launched to the public on May 31, 2019 on Staten Island buses and at 16 subway stations.[note 1] Currently, OMNY only supports single-ride fares paid with contactless bank cards; mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Google Pay are also accepted, and free transfers between services that support OMNY are available with the same rules as the MetroCard.[29][6][30][21][31][32]

Weeks before the public rollout began, $85.4 million had been spent on the project, out of a total budget of $644.7 million.[23]:14 In June and July 2019, Mastercard offered "Fareback Fridays" to promote the system, where it would refund up to two rides made using OMNY on Fridays.[33][34] The MTA reported that the current OMNY implementation has proven to be moderately popular: on one day in June, 18,000 taps were recorded from bank cards issued in 82 countries.[35]

Future plansEdit

At a presentation in May 2019, the MTA's Capital Program Oversight Committee specified the following items to be implemented at an unspecified future date: 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.[23]:17 However, the 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.[23]:21

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".[36] In June 2019, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced it was in talks with the MTA to implement OMNY on the PATH by 2022.[37] There are no plans for OMNY to be used on NJ Transit, which plans to implement another new fare payment system with a different contractor.[38]


  1. ^ a b All stations on the 4, ​5, ​6, and <6> trains between Grand Central–42nd Street and Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center.
  2. ^ The following subway stations participated in the 2006 trial:
  3. ^ The following bus routes and subway stations participated in the 2010 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.


  1. ^ a b 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.
  2. ^ a b Kaminer, Ariel (June 11, 2010). "Testing PayPass on New York's Buses and Trains". The New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  3. ^ a b 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.
  4. ^ Hoscik, Martin (October 11, 2018). "TfL set to extend Cubic's contactless fares licensing deal after netting £15m in royalties in just two years". MayorWatch. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ a b Chung, Jen. "OMNY Is Alive: MTA Opens Up Tap Payment System In Limited Subway Pilot". Gothamist. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  7. ^ "About NYC Transit – History". October 19, 2002. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  8. ^ Steinemann, Jeremy (August 5, 2009). "The Future of the MetroCard Part 3". Second Ave. Sagas. Archived from the original on August 11, 2009.
  9. ^ Bacheldor, Beth (January 31, 2006). "RFID to Ride N.Y. Subways". RFID Journal. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  10. ^ Blass, Evan (February 1, 2006). ""Select customers" to trial RFID NYC subway pass". Engadget. Archived from the original on February 3, 2006.
  11. ^ "New Jersey and New York Transit Agencies Partner with MasterCard on Tap & Go Payment System to Enhance Commuter Experience". MasterCard (Press release). June 1, 2010. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  12. ^ Glucksman, Randy (July 2010). "Commuter and Transit Notes". The Bulletin. 53 (7). Electric Railroaders' Association. p. 10.
  13. ^ "About the Trial". NY/NJ Transit Trial. Archived from the original on November 18, 2010. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  14. ^ Hinds, Kate (June 1, 2015). "Finally: The MTA Has an Approved Capital Program". WNYC. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Siff, Andrew (September 11, 2017). "MetroCard Replacement Is Coming Soon: MTA". NBC New York. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  17. ^ Rivoli, Dan (October 6, 2017). "MTA testing new tech that could replace MetroCard". NY Daily News. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  18. ^ Rivoli, Dan (October 23, 2017). "MTA approves plan to scrap MetroCards for 'tap' payment system". NY Daily News. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ a b "MTA: OMNY will be phased in to replace MetroCards in NYC". ABC7 New York. February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  22. ^ "Avoiding replacing the MetroCard with ... chaos". am New York. April 2, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  23. ^ a b c d e f "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. May 20, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  24. ^ "MetroCards to start tapping out in May". am New York. June 13, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  25. ^ Berger, Paul. "Liberty? Tony? Pretzel? New York Officials Puzzle Over Fare Card Name". WSJ. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  26. ^ Meyer, David (August 5, 2019). "MetroCard's flashy replacement was almost named 'Pretzel'". New York Post. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  27. ^ Rivoli, Dan (February 22, 2019). "Why not Apple Card? Or Gotham Card? MTA's tap-n-go fare card has unimaginative name". Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  28. ^ "MTA to begin pilot for MetroCard replacement next week". New York Post. February 22, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  29. ^ "6,000 tap into new MTA fare system on first full day". am New York. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  30. ^ "MTA begins rollout of 'tap-and-go' fare payment system". Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  31. ^ "No More MetroCards? MTA To Test New Fare System Where Riders Pay Using Smartphone". CBS New York. February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  32. ^ "MTA to phase out MetroCard: Out with the swipe, in with the tap". News 12 The Bronx. February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  33. ^ "New York's MTA Gets Apple Pay and Google Pay: Here's How to Set It Up". Fortune. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  34. ^ "Fareback Fridays Promotion". Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  35. ^ Fitzsimmons, Emma G. (July 30, 2019). "So Long, Swiping. The 'Tap-and-Go' Subway Is Here". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  36. ^ "Say hello to tap and go, with OMNY". MTA. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  37. ^ "PATH Implementation Plan" (PDF). PANYNJ. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  38. ^ Higgs, Larry (June 6, 2019). "NJ Transit takes a small step toward getting its own fare card, similar to NYC". nj. Retrieved October 2, 2019.

External linksEdit

  • OMNY – official site