Something important is happening in New York City today: they are finally fixing the subway! Jokingly, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is implementing contactless payments for selected stations and bus lines. (Because that will solve overcrowding, broken air conditioners and obsolete signal systems!) We already knew that the payment systems of Apple, Google and Fitbit would be compatible, and today we are learning that Samsung is also ready.
If the Samsung press release seems unclear, that is because it is the MTA that is setting the course towards a new system that uses only contactless payment methods. The agency's plan is called One Metro New York, or OMNY for short, and today's limited deployment represents only one step early. The big milestone for 2020 will be to enable the issuance of mobile tickets through a forthcoming OMNY application. That single move would help the MTA be in line with other public transportation systems, including the Metro North and the Long Island Railroad in New York.
Looking further ahead, in 2021, the MTA plans to issue a new card that is intended to replace the yellow card we use today. That will be available at unspecified retail locations to begin with, and will be expanded to vending machines at subway and commuter rail stations by 2022. And, if everything goes according to plan, the MTA will remove the card that can be slid in 2023.
For now, OMNY is only available on Staten Island buses and at stations 4, 5 and 6 between Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center and Grand Central. Again, you can also use it with other payment systems, including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Fitbit Pay. It will also work with contactless credit and debit cards. Look at it if you are so inclined, and remember: stay safe, do not look anyone in the eye and avoid the rats that jump on pole.