Goodbye MetroCards, make room for OMNY

Roderick Joshua

The MTA announced it will phase out the MetroCard payment system and permanently switch to the recently developed OMNY payment system.

Starting in 2023, the MTA will begin replacing the decades-old MetroCard machines with OMNY vending machines. The MetroCard’s complete removal is expected to be complete by the end of next year. Starting 2024, OMNY payment will be mandatory at all MTA subway stations.

With these significant changes, Baruch College and other CUNY commuters will have to slightly change their commute preparations.

Students and faculty will have to set up a digital wallet on a mobile or wearable device, have a credit or debit card with a microchip installed on it or purchase an OMNY card to ride on any public transportation in the city.

For those concerned with their reduced fare benefits, the MTA has begun transitioning the program into OMNY. Reduced fair commuters will not need to reapply for reduced fair when making the switch to OMNY. Commuters will also be given free reduced-fare OMNY cards if preferred over digital devices.

Switching to OMNY while receiving benefits is now available for reduced fare customers through the MTA website, where you can also learn more about the transition to OMNY.

For commuters who utilize the MTA rail services to get to campus, this drastic change aims to create a smoother commute. With the implementation of the contactless payment service across all MTA services such as railways, buses and subway stations, there will be more of a seamless transition between them.

OMNY began rolling out to MTA subway stations in 2019 and became widely utilized by commuters amid the pandemic, when many wanted to avoid physical contact as much as possible.

In addition to replacing the MetroCard, the MTA plans to expand OMNY. Commuters will be able to purchase OMNY cards at more than just OMNY vending machines; they will be stocked in the gift card aisles of CVS, Walgreens and 7- Eleven.

The MTA also announced an OMNY app projected to release next year.

In addition to remodeling how we pay for and access our public transportation, the MTA announced plans to modernize subway tunnels. The MTA started a 10-year project that will provide subway commuters with cell phone service while in the city’s subway tunnels.

By implementing these changes, the MTA hopes to attract former subway commuters as it still struggles to rebound to pre-pandemic ridership.