MTA continues to expand OMNY

May 22, 2024
The MTA is utilizing OMNY as its contactless fare payment system to give subway and bus customers a simpler way to pay for their fares using credit or debit card, smartphone, wearable device or OMNY card to tap and go.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is making progress in its transition from MetroCard to OMNY, the authority's contactless fare payment system. The agency has recently made a major push to expand the reach of OMNY to include all customer groups by the end of 2024, including students, Reduced-Fare, Fair Fares, Access-a-Ride and pre-tax commuter benefit customers. The substantial completion of the rollout across subway, bus and paratransit services is slated for the end of 2025. 

The rollout will also include upgrades and integrations with the TrainTime application for railroad ticketing and the implementation of modernized ticket machines on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North Railroad, which will be substantially completed in early 2026.

All New York City school students will receive student specific OMNY cards instead of MetroCards at the start of the 2024-2025 school year in September. OMNY pilots have also been launched for select paratransit and pre-tax commuter benefit customers, with a wide rollout to both customer bases expected by the end of 2024. All existing Reduced-Fare MetroCard customers, totaling more than 1.5 million customers, will receive an OMNY card mailed to them by the end of 2024.

On LIRR and Metro-North, new modern ticket vending machines will be introduced across the commuter rail system by contractor Scheidt & Bachmann, with TrainTime continuing to service customers for contactless digital payment through contractor Masabi.

“By treating OMNY as the megaproject that it is, we have turned a corner on delivering its benefits to all categories of customers,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “The new approach is going to give users the sense of interoperability they expect while limiting MTA’s contractor risk and saving millions of dollars. Congratulations to the project management team.”

“Since taking the reins, we’ve accelerated the pace of the OMNY program and kept it on budget,” said MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “Today's actions mark another milestone toward delivering this vital program to all of our customers.”

On May 1, the MTA and New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) launched the Fair Fares pilot on OMNY. Fair Fares customers registered for the pilot can now use OMNY cards to pay via tap-and-go on New York City subways and buses. The pilot is scheduled to run for 90 days, which will allow the agency to collect feedback from participants, evaluate the pilot and finalize a plan for the full transition to OMNY across all Fair Fares customers at a later date. MTA notes there are currently 50 Fair Fares members enrolled and tapping into the subway system and on buses with OMNY cards as part of the pilot program.

Additionally on April 29, the agency completed its OMNY Card Vending Machine rollout pilot program. To date, MTA crews have activated 70 machines at 37 stations with more activations scheduled systemwide, as card vending machines are expected to be in all subway stations by mid-2025 – providing additional ways all full fare customers with an OMNY card can reload their cards.

In addition, OMNY was previously rolled out on the Hudson Rail Link, Roosevelt Island Tramway, AirTrain JFK and to reduced-fare customers who all are now able to pay for the fare on subways and buses through contactless fare payment.

MTA says New York City Transit customers are choosing contactless fare payment, with a customer satisfaction rate of 85 percent. More than three quarters (76 percent) of regular fare customers are now tapping in with OMNY, a 10 percent increase in overall market share in the past year. Nearly 70 percent of OMNY customers tap into the system with their smart device with the remaining using debit, credit or OMNY card.

The agency says that due to the success of TrainTime, the next-generation mobile app on the commuter railroads, LIRR and Metro-North Railroad will continue to build on that platform adding full flexibility for future fare offerings such as joint fare products, pay-as-you-go discounts and easier ticket purchase and validation.

With OMNY as the MTA’s contactless fare payment system, subway and bus customers can simply use their contactless credit or debit card, smartphone, wearable device, or OMNY card to tap and go.

With the MTA’s comprehensive TrainTime app, LIRR and Metro-North customers can buy and activate a ticket; plan trips and see options between up to two origin and two destination stations; view departure times and transfer details for a trip, including for trips using both LIRR and Metro-North; track a train in real-time and watch it arrive with GPS data updated every few seconds; view real-time seat availability and the layout of a train and chat live with a customer service representative.

“Billions of taps prove that OMNY is the most cost-effective and easy way to pay your fare,” said MTA Chief Customer Officer Shanifah Rieara. “We have created a clear path towards a major expansion of OMNY this year to millions more customers, including all New York City school students by the start of this upcoming 2024-2025 school year and more.”