Ask the MTA | OMNY vending machines, subway air conditioning and connection corridors

Commuter using an MTA OMNY vending machine
A subway rider uses an OMNY machine at Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center on Oct. 30, 2023.
Marc A. Hermann / MTA

amNewYork Metro, in conjunction with the MTA, present “Ask the MTA,” a column where MTA officials answer your questions about transit service in New York City. If you have a question for the MTA about subways, buses, commuter rails and more, email askthemta[@]amny.com.

Q: The MTA just recently unveiled OMNY vending machines in the subway. Does purchasing an OMNY Card and adding money onto it reflect the same cost requirements for express bus service? — Sam F., Fresh Kills

A: You can use a pre-loaded OMNY card to pay the fare on all MTA buses, including express buses. The $7 cost remains the same whether you tap in or swipe at the front door. However, since we’re still rolling out the program, riders with 7-Day Unlimited Express Bus Plus passes should continue to use their MetroCards. Those benefits are not yet available on OMNY. — Frank Annicaro, Senior Vice President, New York City Transit Department of Buses

Q: When does the MTA transition from blasting air conditioning in subway cars to heat given the change in season? — Anna K., White Plains

A: Subway cars do not transition from air conditioning to heating based on seasonality. Instead, the NYCT HVAC system operates automatically, relying on data from temperature sensors. These sensors trigger the system to activate heating or cooling, depending on preset temperature limits. – Siu Ling Ko, Vice President and Chief Mechanical Officer of Subway Car Equipment, New York City Transit

Q: Would the MTA consider placing stanchions or dividers in order to make walking through busy connection corridors at Times Square and Grand Central easier? – Nancy D., Riverdale, The Bronx 

A: New York City Transit has stanchions at Grand Central Station as customers transfer to the 7 train from 4/5/6 platforms. Stanchions are placed where we believe they will have the greatest impact to ease congestion and we’re always innovating to improve the customer experience. – Jim Compton, Executive Vice President, Customer Environment & Facilities, New York City Transit Department of Subways

Q: Does the MTA ever let members of the public voice subway announcements? If so, how can I participate? Darren M., Lower East Side

A: It’s not something you can sign up for, but the MTA has in the past invited some notable New Yorkers and members of the public to make special announcements. Most recently, we had high school students record messages warning customers about the dangers of riding outside train cars. Children with autism also made announcements back in April in recognition of World Autism Awareness Month. Our system is a sacred space, so there has to be a remarkable situation to get you in front of a transit microphone.  – Shanifah Rieara, Acting MTA Chief Customer Officer