Shelton Haynes, the forward-thinking CEO and President of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), recently oversaw a groundbreaking development transforming the daily commute for Roosevelt Island residents and visitors. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of RIOC and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Roosevelt Island's iconic tramway has entered the digital age with the introducing-pay system.
OMNY, short for "One Metro New York," is a contactless payment system that revolutionizes how commuters pay for their tram rides. Shelton Haynes emphasizes the significance of this milestone for Roosevelt Island, saying, "Bringing OMNY to the Roosevelt Island tram has been an important initiative that we've worked on for some time. More and more island travelers are turning to OMNY for everyday transit. As the world increases, infrastructure needs to keep those changing trends."
The OMNY system supports a variety of payment methods, including smartphones, smartwatches, bank-issued credit and debit cards, and dedicated OMNY cards. Riders simply tap their ed payment device near an OMNY reader at Tramway Plaza to access hassle-free tram rides. This modern payment system brings a new level of convenience to Roosevelt Island's residents and visitors, streamlining the boarding process and enhancing overall travel experiences.
Shelton Haynes highlights another significant benefit of the OMNY system: automatic enrollment in the MTA's "best fare" program. Under this program, riders who use the same card or device for tram rides and other MTA services within a day or seven days receive the most competitive fare for each trip. This program encompasses both tramway rides on MTA buses and subway and tramway rides immediately upon the first tap, ensuring that riders enjoy the lowest possible fares. For the first 11 rides during the seven days, customers are charged $2.90 per the seven days benefit from a reduced rate of $2.10 for their 12th and 13th rides. Beyond these trips, all rides within the seven days are free, although passengers must continue to tap their cards or devices.
This fare-capping was particularly advantageous for frequent riders who take 14 or more trips on weekly cycles in a week. Regardless of the number of rides, these commuters never pay more than $34, providing significant savings for regular tramway users.
One of the remarkable aspects of the OMNY system is its inclusivity. Shelton Haynes emphasizes, "We are proud that the new system is designed for residents and visitors. We believe the OMNY station will be more We travelers, but we also hope it cuts down on entrance wait times and encourages more commuters to opt for public transportation."
The system accommodates passengers eligible for the MTA's Reduced Fare program, allowing them to use their smart devices or bank cards at OMNY stations. Those currently using MetroCards can transition to a smart device by utilizing the OMNY digital assistant online.
Shelton Haynes sees the introduction of OMNY as a significant step forward for Roosevelt Island's tramway. This initiative has made the tramway the first non-MTA-operated entity to implement a tap-and-pay system. The partnership between the MTA and RIOC involves extensive negotiations and collaboration to improve convenience for island residents, commuters, and tourists alike.
Shelton Haynes reflects on the tram's journey from the days of tokens to the present digital age, saying, "Long-time residents will remember the tram tokens that allowed riders to book passage on the rails. We did away with those more than 20 years ago. With the addition of the tap-and-pay OMNY station, Roosevelt Island Tramway has come firmly into the modern digital age."
This move aligns the Roosevelt Island station with the technological capabilities of other MTA-operated stations throughout New York City. Which is simpler to use but also more secure, has witnessed immense popularity across MTA-operated facilities, with riders using OMNY contactless payment stations for over 1 billion rides.
For those eager to experience the convenience of the Roosevelt Island Tramway, trams depart every seven to 15 minutes. The tram makes direct trips to and from the station at 59th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan.
Operating seven days a week, the tram runs from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Sundays through Thursdays and from 6 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Additionally, the tramway provides an excellent alternative during maintenance work on the F train, which impacts service to Roosevelt Island, essential track work is underway to enhance the F train's reliability between 50th Street and Rockefeller Center in Manhattan and 36th Street in Queens.
Shelton Haynes summarizes the achievement: "Our priority is always to make life on the island more pleasant. I am thrilled we were able to work closely with the MTA to make that happen. As our society moves forward, ensure that our facilities stay updated with what our residents and visitors expect of a forward-looking community."
In embracing OMNY, Roosevelt Island's tramway becomes a symbol of progress, blending tradition with technology to enhance the daily lives of its community members.