In March 2019, Apple announced that people would be able to use Apple Pay to pay for rides at all New York City subway stations by October 2020.
However, the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in that plan. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, which cites Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officials, the OMNY payment system will be delayed by about two months. The report says that installation was halted to protect the health of workers. It resumed in early May.
“Unless you have OMNY at both ends of your destination you’re not going to use OMNY,” Al Putre, the MTA official in charge of implementing the system, told the WSJ.
The OMNY system is currently available in about half of NYC’s subway stations. It’s also being installed in Portland and Chicago.
On the flip side, the MTA sped up the OMNY rollout on buses because of the pandemic, and it should be available on all buses in Manhattan by the end of July, and throughout the city by year’s end. It’s currently available on Staten Island bus routes.
OMNY supports payments with smartphones or contactless credit cards, and is, in Mashable’s opinion, a big upgrade over the old MetroCard system. Compared to the fairly unreliable MetroCards, tapping a phone or a watch on the terminal is faster and easier.
However, OMNY won’t support discounted 7-day and 30-day passes until early 2021, so a lot of folks will likely continue to use MetroCards, which will remain functional until 2023. The MTA also believes that pay-per-ride trips could increase in popularity as some workers won’t go to the office as often as they did before.