Earlier this year, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA, launched a new fare payment system called OMNY, which essentially allows customers to use services like Google Pay and Apple Pay at turnstiles to pay for rides. It seems like that program has been a success, despite only being available at a few stations — and Cubic, the company behind OMNY’s tech, is now expanding it across the country.
The first new city to get the tech will be San Francisco, after which it’ll make its way to Boston, and get a wider launch in New York City. Additional cities will be added too, but they have yet to be announced. In San Francisco, Cubic says that riders will be able to use Google Pay from the Cubic traveler app too — which is presumably where they’ll be able to choose the fares that they want to pay for.
According to Cubic, the idea behind the tech is to make using public transportation easier and more accessible. Hopefully, that will reduce congestion, even if only a little, and it’s much better for the environment. Cubic has yet to announce specific dates for the rollout of the new tech in San Francisco and other cities, though we’ll likely get more information about the rollout in the near future.
It’s also unclear exactly how wide-spread the rollout will be next year. When the service launched in New York City in May, it was limited to Staten Island buses and the 4, 5, and 6 subway lines between the Grand Central-42nd Street and Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center station stops. Considering how massive New York City’s metro system is, that’s pretty limited. At the time, however, the MTA said that the tech would roll out to the entire subway system and bus routes by the end of 2020.
Using the actual tech is pretty easy — and makes it much easier to quickly get onto a bus or subway. Near turnstiles or on the bus, you’ll see a small area with an NFC symbol. There, you can quickly tap your device or contactless card to pay for a ride. At launch you could only pay per ride, but the MTA has promised that additional fares will be added.