Assemblyman William Colton (D – Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) says that in 1992 MTA has introduced MetroCard to replace the subway token to speed up bus service and entry to the subway. Now MTA is pushing on replacing MetroCards with cashless OMNY payments.
“The MTA has announced that they will complete their installation project of OMNY tap to pay scanners on 5,800 city buses and 472 subway stations within an 18-month period. The MTA is relying on credit cards that have contactless transaction options. First, not many customers that use credit cards have that option. Second, experts are saying that there is a significant amount of personal information collected and it’s a breach of privacy. Besides the privacy concern, there are also other questions like how secure such data is, or whether the language in the payment system terms of service protects the MTA from liability for customers being charged twice for rides. All these problems are been worsened by the MTA rejecting to participate in clarifying different characteristics about OMNY,” Colton stated.
“The study shows that there are over 8.4 million unbanked households in the United States. The cashless practice is unfair to those who don’t have either a bank account or credit card. There are many consumers that feel safer making purchases with cash and not worrying whether their credit card information could be jeopardized in a data breach. The card-only policy is unfair and discriminatory to the individuals that don’t have one. There is no justification for cashless fare, and I strongly believe that many New Yorkers would be affected by it, especially those with disabilities,” Colton continued.
“The TWU Local 100, who represents many New York City Transit employees believes that the booths and booth clerks are essential and carry a bigger role in the stations than just filling up MetroCards. “Where do you go when someone gets pushed on the tracks? When some crime is being committed? Or a person wants to know where they’ve got to go? There’s nobody there!” TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said.
“These are all legitimate concerns and the MTA doesn’t have an answer. I’m also concerned that this program will reduce access to public transportation to seniors, low-income families, and those with language barriers. Therefore, I totally agree with them and support them 100%,” Colton added.