MTA Turnstiles

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

The MTA rolled out its new turnstile pilot program named One Metro New York on May 31[1] to test out a new method of payment.

Using OMNY, commuters will no longer have to use a MetroCard to swipe into the station — instead, they will tap a “contactless” credit card, debit card, smartphone or smartwatch onto scanners called validators1,[2],[3].

Additionally, people who prefer to pay with cash can purchase an OMNY card, which the validators will also accept, according to an article from the Gothamist3. These forms of payment need to be synced to a “digital wallet” account before being ready for use2.

Once the validator has successfully taken or charged its payment, a “beep” will signify that you have paid and can walk through the turnstile, Wayne Lydon, the director of fare payment programs for the MTA, said1.

OMNY validators can be found at sixteen stations along the four, five and six lines starting from AtlanticBarclays Center through Grand Central station1,2. They can also be found on all Staten Island buses2.

From this point, the program will be spread to subway stations and buses across the five boroughs and to the Long Island Rail Road. It is currently unclear if the NYC Ferry and PATH trains will adopt OMNY at some point, too3.

Before opening up the pilot program to all commuters, the MTA tested the validators by having its employees try them out for a few weeks before the end of May3. This was supposed to allow the program creators to identify and fix bugs before commuters tested it.

According to News Four New York, the OMNY system was modeled after London’s contactless Oyster card system1. It also resembles the Ventra system of Chicago3.

While the program is new, some Baruch commuters have already tried it out, yielding mixed results.

“It’s more convenient for me, personally, as I use the subway very infrequently,” said Undergraduate Student Government President Dakshatha Daggala. “Once they roll out an app that people can use for monthlies and weeklies, it will be better than a MetroCard.”

A corporate communications student who declined to provide their name, on the other hand, disagrees.

“I believe it’s pointless. I live in Queens where I take the bus after I get off the subway, it doesn’t offer me a transfer,” they said.

Members of the MTA defend the switch, saying that it’s a quicker, more user-friendly method than swiping a MetroCard, which often glitches and needs to be swiped multiple times to work1,2,3.

“The beauty part of this system is no longer waiting in line go to a station agent,” said MTA Fare Payment Executive Alan Putre in the News Four NY article1. “They bring their own convenient method.

You tap, you go, you ride. What could be more convenient?”

Despite this, some still prefer the current payment system, such as journalism student Andrew Marzullo.

“I went to use OMNY on the Staten Island express bus. When I got on, I was unaware of the fact that you have to register your credit card beforehand, almost leaving me stranded at the stop,” said Marzullo. “Luckily, I had one fare’s worth on my MetroCard, but this should be communicated better, as I, along with many other people I spoke to, was unaware of the registration.”

Lucky for these commuters, MetroCards will still be allowed for use until 20233.

Editor’s Note: Andrew Marzullo, quoted in this story, is the Editor-in-Chief of