I’m excited about the OMNY rollout being completed for New York City MTA buses and trains. If you’re not familiar with OMNY, the MTA is phasing out the metrocard over the next couple of years and transitioning to a tap to pay system. As of New Year’s Day, it’s been installed and is active on all New York City MTA buses and trains for smart devices with digital wallets. At press time, there’s no unlimited ride option with tap-to-pay. It’s only individual fares. For an unlimited ride option, you’ll still have to use a metrocard. Sometime in or before 2023, metrocards will be phased out and an MTA issued tap-to-pay transit card will be issued and unlimited ride options will be available with tap-to-pay. I know there are privacy concerns about the new system, if you’re concerned about that, your best bet is to continue to use metrocards and pay cash. Although, I honestly think your privacy concerns are overblown. This was an inevitable transition, and I’d argue that it’s for the better. You show me a person who doesn’t like it and I’ll show you a person who doesn’t regularly use the MTA in New York City. It’s just convenient. Like Tide Pods. These little things that can make our lives a little more convenient are where technology companies are doing good rather than harm. As far as people using data for bad, I’d worry more about Spotify, Lyft, and Facebook than I would tap-to-pay on the subway.
Although, I do believe the concerns about an eventual transition to a pay by distance system and/or fares based on peak/off-peak time are valid. The last year saw an unprecedented change to the system, as of a few months ago, the subways are now closed from 1AM to 5AM. Cuomo wanted , and tried, to do this before COVID-19 to save money -the MTA always needs money. It was an inevitable change that was coming… But it was also unimaginable, like everybody just transitioning to working and school from home and riding bicycles and bikes. And it happened overnight, pardon the pun. Because 1AM to 5AM is literally overnight. Ok, I’m running that joke into the ground… What was I saying?
Unimaginable things are happening and we need to get used to that. We need to imagine more. We need to imagine the good in this world too though. A cell phone in everyone’s pocket, text messaging and every other revolutionary thing making our lives more convenient have privacy and security concerns and we’ll just have to face them together.
I’m also excited about the completed Moynihan Train Hall in Penn Station. However nice it is, it doesn’t solve the biggest problems, not enough tunnels under the Hudson, not enough tracks and platforms, but it’s nice.
I’ll save my “this change signals the end of the world, the sky is falling” or “this isn’t nearly good enough” for something else, in the meantime I’m going to enjoy these two little big things.
I’m going to leave for work extra early to tomorrow so I can take some pictures of the station, and I’m going to enjoy that too.