I'm one of those people with way too many MetroCards in his wallet, and I usually don't know how much of a balance I have on each card. But now there's a cure for my disorganization in the form of Express Transit for Apple Pay, which launches May 31st in New York City.
Instead of digging through your wallet or pocket book for a card that you swipe, Express Trasnit will let you use your iPhone or Apple Watch (running the latest software) to just tap and pay at one of a growing number of specialized turnstiles. (Yes, these turnstiles will support Google Pay as well for Android phones.)
At first, Express Transit will be limited to the 4, 5 and 6 lines between Grand Central in Manhattan and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It will also work on Staten Island buses. But the MTA says that it hopes to expand its One Metro New York (OMNY) contactless payment system to the point that it can replace MetroCards by 2023.
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Express Transit supports all of the latest iPhones, as well as the older iPhone SE, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. And it will work with the Apple Watch Series 1 and 2 along with the Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 4.
You'll add funds to Express Transit via the Wallet app on your phone. Unfortunately, Express Transit supports only single rides at first, which means you won't be able to use it for monthly passes. But that should change over time.
I had a chance to see Express Transit in action, and it looks remarkably easy. You don't even have to touch the turnstile with your phone; just get close enough to the reader and you'll be able to go through.
Express Transit has already launched in Portland, and Chicago is next on the list after New York City.
I look forward to the day that I can toss my MetroCards. I'll just have to remember to make sure my phone is charged so I don't get stuck.