OMNY readers at the Astor Pl station.OMNY readers at the Astor Pl station. Photo by: Kent M. Wilhelm

This month, Bronx residents may see something unfamiliar as they board the 2, 5 and 6 lines. The MTA will be rolling out its new OMNY contactless fare payment system to several stations in the Bronx. This is the latest effort in the gradual expansion of the OMNY system that will eventually replace the MetroCard altogether.

Have questions? We did too, so we put together this guide to the OMNY system.

What is the OMNY system?

The OMNY system is a “tap and go” way to pay your fare. Instead of swiping, riders can now tap their phone, smartwatch, credit/debit card (if supported) and eventually the new OMNY card on an OMNY reader.  It works similar to key cards or fobs that are used to unlock doors. OMNY readers are being installed in subway stations and buses in waves. Not all MTA subway stations and buses have OMNY readers yet.

Does OMNY accept my credit/debit card?

OMNY accepts cards from Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Discover if they support contactless payments. Check to see if your card has the contactless symbol on the front or back of the card. Sometimes these cards are referred to as “chip cards.”

Contactless symbol
Contactless symbol

Does my phone, smartwatch or wearable support OMNY?

The short answer is… maybe. The OMNY system currently accepts Google Pay (formerly Android Pay), Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Fitbit pay. If your device supports one of these apps, known as digital wallets, you can use it to pay your fare. A number of national chains including Walgreens, Dunkin’ and McDonald’s already accept payment via digital wallets.

All Apple Watches and most iPhones since the iPhone 6, released in fall of 2014, include NFC, the feature required for contactless payments. Makers of Android phones have included NFC in many of their phones since 2012. To see if your smartwatch supports Google Pay, check if it’s available in your watch’s list of apps. Currently, the only Fitbit models that support Fitbit pay are the Versa 2, Versa Special Edition, Ionic and Charge 3 Special Edition. A list of Samsung devices that support Samsung Pay can be found on their website.

What if I don’t have a phone, credit/debit card or one that doesn’t support OMNY?

Not to worry, the MTA is happy receive its fare however they can get it. Customers will always be able to pay with cash. Currently, riders can still purchase a MetroCard though eventually they will be replaced by the OMNY card. The MTA plans to have OMNY cards available starting in 2021.

Can I still use my MetroCard?

Yes. The OMNY’s rollout is part of a transition period where customers can use the OMNY system or their swipe their MetroCard.

Eventually, MetroCards will go the way of tokens. The MTA plans to phase out of MetroCards by 2023.

What about unlimited ride passes, reduced fares and student fares?

These options aren’t available yet via OMNY. The MTA expects to have these options available in the future.

Where is OMNY available?

The MTA has been rolling out OMNY systems in stages beginning in May 2019. The latest rollout brings OMNY to the following stations along the two, five and six lines in the Bronx.

2/5 Line

3 Av-149 St, Jackson Av, Prospect Av, Intervale Av, Simpson St, Freeman St, 174 St, West Farms Sq-E Tremont Av, E 180 St, Bronx Park E, Pelham Pkwy/White Plains Rd, Allerton Av, Burke Av, Gun Hill Rd/White Plains Rd, 219 St, 225 St, 233 St, Nereid Av, Wakefield-241 St

6 Line

3 Av-138 St, Brook Av, Cypress Av, E 143 St-St Mary’s St, E 149 St, Longwood Av, Hunts Point Av, Whitlock Av, Elder Av, Morrison Av-Soundview, St Lawrence Av, Parkchester, Castle Hill Av, Zerega Av, Westchester Sq-East Tremont Av, Middletown Rd, Buhre Av, Pelham Bay Park

Buses on Staten Island are currently the only bus lines to offer OMNY readers. Expansion to Manhattan buses expected in March 2020.

The MTA provides a list of stations and bus lines that offer OMNY readers on its website.

What is an OMNY account and do I need one?

Riders can register for a free OMNY account online that will allow them to view up to 90 days of trips and charges. You do not need an OMNY account to use the OMNY system.

What does “OMNY” mean?

OMNY stands for One Metro New York. The MTA’s website says the name “is based on the concept of unifying fare payments and ticketing across multiple modes of transportation.”

Have more questions? Ask us on Twitter @motthavenherald.

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