New York City’s commuters are bracing for the impending fare hike to $2.90 for a subway and bus ride, but some riders accidentally got an early look at what’s to come.
That’s because some unfortunate straphangers were charged a $2.90 fare Monday morning for a ride that’s still supposed to cost $2.75 until the fare hike is implemented on Aug. 20, the MTA disclosed.
“Early this morning, some customers using our contactless payment system, OMNY, were mistakenly charged $2.90 for their fare. This was due to a testing error by Cubic, the vendor building out OMNY,” the MTA tweeted Monday afternoon. “We immediately directed them to fix the issue and it’s now resolved.”
MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan said Cubic had “erroneously and prematurely implemented software changes” to OMNY that are not supposed to go into effect until Aug. 20. The problem was rectified by 9 a.m., he said, and any affected customer will be refunded the 15 cents they were overcharged.
The agency could not immediately comment on how many commuters were affected by the incident, or whether it affected every OMNY tap across the city during the morning hours.
The MTA Board approved hiking the base fare for subways, buses, and paratransit from $2.75 — where it has stood since 2015 — to $2.90 earlier this month. The increase was stipulated in this year’s state budget as part of a financial rescue plan for the authority, which has struggled to return to its pre-pandemic ridership.
OMNY, the contactless payment system, was originally intended to fully replace the 30-year-old MetroCard by the end of this year, but the timeline for completing the MetroCard’s phaseout is presently uncertain.
The MTA recently recorded the billionth overall tap into the transit system using OMNY, but contactless payment is still used for fewer than half of the paid entries into the system. 47% of subway rides are paid for with OMNY, but the number is just 29% for buses, an MTA spokesperson confirmed earlier this month.