The dodo bird, the token, the MetroCard
The MTA is in the final testing stage of its new “OMNY” system, which will allow riders to pay the fare with a smartphone or a debit or credit card. A huge crew of MTA volunteers — 1,100 riders — will begin using the system next month. (That’s the new screens installed at the World Trade Center, above, but they are also at Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall.) The pilot will only work on Staten Island and on the 4, 5, 6 between Grand Central and Atlantic Av-Barclays. By 2023, this will be the way to pay, and MetroCards will go the way of the token. I guess we are the last to the party: MasterCard had a press release that said this system exists in 150 cities worldwide.
The MTA has this wacky description of the new fare payment system on its website: “OMNY is built on the concept that we are One Metro New York and is based on the prefix ‘omni,’ which means ‘all’ or ‘of all things.’ We believe that transportation is an essential service that connects communities and brings the diversity and energy of New York together. OMNY is the newest way to experience all that the region offers.”