Coronavirus delays plan to support Apple Pay throughout New York metro system


Apple in talks to bring Apple Pay to Israel
Apple Pay makes commuting hassle-free.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Plans to offer Apple Pay and other contactless payment options across the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s new OMNY fare payment system in New York have reportedly been delayed due to coronavirus, claims the Wall Street Journal in a report published Tuesday.

The publication says that completion of the scheme, which currently offers contactless payments at around half of the 472 subway stations, along with Staten Island bus routes, has been delayed by about two months. It was originally expected to be live across the board by October.

“Unless you have OMNY at both ends of your destination you’re not going to use OMNY,” Al Putre, the MTA official in charge of implementing the new system, told the WSJ.

According to the report, installation of digital readers at subway turnstiles was halted in late March. This was due to concern that workers fitting them risked exposure to COVID-19. Installation picked up at the start of May.

The project is now on track to cover all subway stations by the end of 2020. Installation of OMNY on buses will cover all Manhattan buses by the end of July. It will operate citywide by the end of December.

Apple Pay on the New York subway system

Apple started rolling out Apple Pay support on the New York subway last year. Among the first lines were the busy 4, 5, 6 line between Grand Central-42 Street in Manhattan and Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center in Brooklyn. As the city’s most heavily trafficked subway line, this was a great test of Apple Pay for commuters. Since then, I’ve heard nothing but good things from friends and acquaintances in New York who commute. Things will be even better when this payment system works across the board.

At least initially, the OMNY system only let customers pay for full-fare, pay-per-ride journeys. Unlimited ride passes and discounted tiers were not initially available. If someone knows more details, let us know in the comments below.


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