The use of contactless cards and mobile wallets for payments has experienced expedited growth during the pandemic thanks to consumers’ wish to avoid grimy POS terminals. Mercator Advisory Group data finds that consumers have been switching to contactless as a new way to pay and those who used contactless prior to the onset of the global pandemic are using it more in recent months. One area where contactless use has shown great adoption is with transit. Who wouldn’t want to avoid the turnstiles or payment points on trains and buses?
While far fewer individuals are commuting through public transportation these days, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York took the opportunity to upgrade all of their subway stations throughout the system and their thousands of buses to accept contactless tap-and-go technology with the assumption that ridership will someday return to more typical, pre-pandemic levels.
Here’s what The Verge had to say on the topic:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Thursday that it had completed the rollout of tap-to-pay scanners at all subway stations and on all of its buses throughout the city. The MTA has been installing the system, called OMNY, since May 2019 as part of a modernization effort to phase out the plastic MetroCards that have been in use since the ’90s. The new tap-to-pay system is available at 472 stations and on 5,800 buses in total, the MTA said.
Tap-to-pay is supposed to speed up entry into buses and subways and reduce costs throughout the transit system, officials have said. It’s also just meant to be simpler and more modern
You need a phone or card that supports contactless payments in order to use the OMNY system. Later in 2021, the MTA will begin selling OMNY tap-to-pay cards — an important addition since not all riders have a smartphone or credit card. Support for reduced fares for senior riders and riders with disabilities will come at some point this year, too.
Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group