Google Pay is coming to some NYC public transit routes on May 31

NYC Subway OMNY turnstile
NYC Subway OMNY turnstile (Image credit: MTA)

What you need to know

  • Contactless payments will be supported on certain NYC public transit routes beginning on May 31.
  • Google Maps and Assistant can now give real-time transit info for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in NYC.
  • The real-time transit features will also begin rolling out to other cities including London and Melbourne in the coming weeks.

Contactless payments have added a certain level of ease to our lives, and now that convenience is about to come to public transit for New Yorkers. Recently, Google has been hard at work with transit agencies in more than 30 cities around the world including, London, Singapore, Moscow, and now New York City to make paying with Google Pay possible.

Beginning on May 31, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will start a pilot program which enables contactless payments. The program called OMNY will be supported on Staten Island buses and the 4-5-6 lines between Grand Central-42 Street and Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr.

OMNY will only be available for full-fare or pay-per-ride until every subway station, bus route, and the Staten Island Railway is updated to use this new technology. If you are traveling on one of the supported routes, you'll now have the option to use one of these contactless methods to pay.

  • Contactless credit card
  • Contactless debit card
  • Contactless reloadable prepaid card
  • Mobile phone
  • Wearable

Not only will you soon be able to pay using your phone, but Google and the MTA have also teamed up to add a real-time transit feature to Google Maps and Assistant. Starting today, all you have to do is ask Google Assistant "Hey Google, when is the next train?" and you'll get the ETA along with walking directions to the station. This is available anywhere Google Assistant is, including your phone, smart speaker, or smart display.

Then, in the coming weeks, Google Maps will also begin showing you which routes accept Google Pay when searching for directions, along with offering to help you set up Google Pay directly inside of Google Maps.

This new feature is also expected to roll out to other destinations around the world in the next few weeks, including London's TfL and Melbourne's myki transit system.

How to set up Google Pay

  • If the MTA is involved I wouldn't expect this to work well for quite a while.
  • Yeah... implementing this depends on how good their applications team and planners are. Some hit the nail on the head, like Walgreens where you just tap and walk out. Others have terrible IT and can't get kit right to save their lives. There a local store chain in my state that began accepting Apple and Google pay, and they had no clue. When you tap your phone it recognizes it, then tells you to insert your phone in the slot. They shut it down after two weeks because they couldn't figure it out. Still, the spread of NFC payments is a good thing. Some companies have gone backwards, like Wendy's restaurants. They went from true NFC terminals back to the older style, just because they thought real NFC was not necessary because of Samsung.
  • I've been waiting for this since the release of Google Wallet. The MTA is slowwwwwwwwwwwwww
  • Google Pay has been accepted since 2016 on TfL?? Alternative to Myki would be great. Both these systems already have contactless readers throughout, TfL has accepted non-Oyster payments for years. Only offering it on one route in NYC seems ludicrous, they need to roll it out to the whole network ASAP.