By Evie Carrick
May 28, 2019
MTA Subway Turnstile Payment Test MetroCard
Credit: Getty Images

The New York City subway may be the busiest subway system in the United States, but until now, they’ve utilized an old-school swipe system (MetroCardo) for entry. This is all about to change with new tap technology being released at 16 stations and on every bus in Staten Island starting Friday.

Using the MTA’s new OMNY system (One Metro New York), riders will be able to pay their fare by tapping their smartphone or contactless credit or debit card on a big blue reader at the subway turnstile or bus entrance. Initially, only a full-fare, pay-per-ride option will be available using the OMNY tap system, making it useful to visitors who won’t need to buy a MetroCard or do anything in advance to use the city’s public transportation.

According to the OMNY site, until other fare options are added and the technology is available everywhere, the MetroCard will remain in use. The MTA’s goal is to officially go MetroCard-free by 2023. In preparation for that date, the MTA will enable mobile ticketing in the OMNY app next year and release a contactless transit card in 2021. In 2022, they hope to have OMNY vending machines installed at subway and rail stations.

And the shift all begins this Friday, as 16 subway stations — including Grand Central Station, Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, and 14 stations in between on the 4, 5, 6 lines — utilize the new technology alongside the traditional MetroCard swipe method. The tap and go system will also be available on every bus on Staten Island.

Full subways and local bus fares are currently $2.75.