NYC’s push for citywide contactless transit payment is delayed by COVID-19

Last May, New York City’s Metro Transit Authority opened the first contactless payment systems at select subway station turnstiles. The system-wide rollout was set to be completed at all subway stops and buses this October. Like so many things in this life, however, COVID-19 put a damper on those plans.

OMNY — One Metro New York — has been delayed, and is now expected to be completed by December. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, notes the unfortunate timing of a delay on a technology that could help riders touch one fewer thing on the public transit petri dish.

Until riders are able to use the technology round trip, they’re less likely to adopt it. For now, it means swapping between a phone and a familiar Metro Card. Of course, many New Yorkers have been skipping the subway altogether for months now. The trains have largely been the realm of essential workers, and while the MTA is going out of its way to sanitize the cars each night, it’s simply not worth the risk for those who are able to avoid them. 

The system supports a wide range of mobile payments available through both mobile devices and smartwatches, including Apple, Google, Samsung and Fitbit’s offerings.