MTA announces 'new direction' with OMNY contractor

The MTA held a meeting on Monday regarding the rollout of OMNY, the new payment system for the NYC transit agency that will eventually replace MetroCards entirely.

The contactless fare payment system was meant to be the wave of the future when the MTA introduced it five years ago, but since then, it's run into major roadblocks.

Five years in, less than half of MTA customers are currently using it, and the categories of MTA customers that can't use it is long: students, those who use fare discounts, weekly or monthly cards, pre-tax benefits, or the fair fares program.


How safe is your data with tap-and-go subway payments?

With the MTA's OMNY payment system for subways and buses about to complete its takeover next year, making the MetroCard a thing of the past, the technical upgrade in our lives to a real-time system tracking our every commuting move has some civil rights and privacy groups sounding the alarm that our freedom is at risk.

"We saw consistently that there was confusion on some of these subcategories and a lot of confusion on the railroads," said MTA Chair and CEO, Janno Lieber.

MTA demotes OMNY contractor

On Monday, the MTA announced it's going in a new direction and demoting their current OMNY contractor in favor of the team that's developed the popular MTA app – TrainTime

Just for reference, TrainTime has a 4.9-star rating on the app store, accolades the MTA doesn't usually get. The agency will now use TrainTime to bring OMNY to Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road.

"The smartest path for customers is to double down on TrainTime," said Jessica Lazarus, senior director of the MTA.

After years of delays, transportation watchdogs applaud the MTA’s move to demote the contractor cubic and say LIRR and Metro-North riders will have a much easier time getting in and around New York City.


Some OMNY users mistakenly overcharged

Some commuters who use the OMNY system were charged $2.90 instead of the current fare of $2.75.

"So that means if you're riding the Long Island Rail Road or Metro-North, you’ll be able to use one tap or app to transfer to subway or buses," said Lisa Daglian, with the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee. "It’ll be more seamless, it’ll be easier."

The new timeline has most of OMNY’s benefits all rolled out by the end of next year.