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November 16, 2023Read More
On a recent trip to NYC, my family crowded around an ancient MetroCard dispenser in the 42nd Street station. It was (of course) uncooperative, and we became increasingly frustrated until an MTA officer signaled to us. He gestured to simply tap our credit card on the turnstile and ta-da – we were through!
Since we aren’t native New Yorkers, we found out later that the flimsy, bright yellow card with the magnetic stripe is on its way out. A new era of contactless payment is here – and it’s time to get on board with OMNY.
MetroCards will be phased out by 2024 and replaced by OMNY, a contactless payment fare system. OMNY readers have been installed in every subway station in NYC and allow riders to “tap to pay” instead of swiping.
You can tap your credit or debit card, smartphone, wearable device, or OMNY card and go. It’s so much more convenient AND more environmentally friendly!
The completed “phase 1” of the multi-year OMNY project includes over 15,000 OMNY readers at all 472 stations, on all 5,800 buses, and at Staten Island Railway.
Eventually, OMNY will combine fare payments and ticketing across subways, buses, paratransit, and commuter rail.
For anyone without a smartphone or an aversion to using their credit or debit card, OMNY cards are currently available at retail locations like CVS, Walgreens, and 7-Eleven. They are also available at the MTA Transit Museum Annex at Grand Central.
Beginning next year, OMNY card vending machines will be available at select stations.
You can purchase an OMNY card for $5 per card PLUS any money you want to load onto it. Fares are still $2.75 per ride.
For those who take the subway often, check out the weekly fare cap. Simply put, it’s an updated version of the 7-day unlimited fare. Take 12 paid OMNY trips with the same device or card starting Monday, and you’re riding free for the rest of the week.
While MetroCards are still available short term, we DO NOT recommend you buy them for your group travelers. Here’s why:
If you buy from a CFSC Check Cashing store, you MUST pay cash – no credit or debit cards are accepted.
Once the MetroCards are gone, the MTA will not supply more.
If you have a small group (think 20 or fewer), you may still be able to purchase at a station vending machine. However, groups larger than 20 people often find that the machine times out after 3-4 transactions using a single credit card. It’s frustrating, time-consuming, and often unreliable.
While some may be nostalgic about the pending demise of the iconic card, most are thrilled with the new contactless, and easier-to-use OMNY system.
In a world ruled by convenience, it’s time to say goodbye to the MetroCard and get on board with OMNY!
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