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New York MTA hails success of ‘tap and pay’; mobile wallet usage rides high

New York’s Metropolitan Transport Authority has hailed the success of tap and pay fares for subway and bus journeys, recording a much higher take-up among time-pressed passengers than initially anticipated.

Dubbed Omny, the new fare payment option allows passengers to use their debit and credit cards and mobile wallets to pay for their ride. It was launched as a limited public pilot at the end of May at 16 subway stations and on all Staten Island buses.

Within the first three days, subways and bus customers used Omny more than 18,000 times, far exceeding original estimates of 7,000 taps in the first week. Nearly three months later, average usage rates are three to four times greater than expected, topping 22,000 per weekday and leading to the million-tap milestone just 69 days after the public launch.

“When we launched Omny a mere 10 weeks ago today, we knew that some New Yorkers would immediately begin paying their fare with a tap,” says Patrick Foye, MTA chairman and CEO. “But even our most optimistic forecasts didn’t anticipate how popular OMNY would become in such a short time. Omny is an essential part of the modernization of the MTA and its success shows that with the right attention and resources, we can do big things to move our system forward.”

Also unexpected was the surprisingly high number of Omny customers using smartphones for payment, with 80% using through digital wallets compared to 20% tapping their contactless cards.

Alan Putre, MTA’s Omny programme executive, says: “Not only are we pleasantly surprised by our customers’ quick adoption of Omny, but also with the number that are choosing to pay with their smart devices rather than a physical card. This should be a clear signal to the financial industry that New Yorkers are more than ready for the next generation of payment cards.”