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OMNY implementation on MNR/LIRR

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I was wondering if anyone knows what the plan is for implementing OMNY on commuter rail?

As someone who frequents the UK, I’m very familiar with their tap-in / tap-out strategy on the Tube and their Commuter Rail. I think it would a smart idea for the NY-suburbs. Just like London and its suburbs, pricing for our commuter rail is zone based in the NY suburbs.

I would certainly prefer turnstiles at all of our stations than seeing conductors trying to implement this new payment methods—but I’m curious to see how they plan in setting OMNY up.
 

Facts/Thoughts?

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MNRR's ticket vending machines were just upgraded with contactless readers, so I don't expect any radical changes with fare collection anytime soon.

Best case scenario, they'll take the reloadable OMNY card in addition to the Apple Pay and contactless credit cards that they'll already be accepting for fare payment. Maybe use OMNY for monthly/weekly pass validation as well. Perhaps long term they'll be able to use less paper and have one ways/round trips/10-trips loaded onto OMNY cards instead of printed tickets, but the infrastructure won't change much overall.

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13 hours ago, paulrivera said:

MNRR's ticket vending machines were just upgraded with contactless readers, so I don't expect any radical changes with fare collection anytime soon.

Best case scenario, they'll take the reloadable OMNY card in addition to the Apple Pay and contactless credit cards that they'll already be accepting for fare payment. Maybe use OMNY for monthly/weekly pass validation as well. Perhaps long term they'll be able to use less paper and have one ways/round trips/10-trips loaded onto OMNY cards instead of printed tickets, but the infrastructure won't change much overall.

Are we sure those readers aren't for recharging purposes? They could still implement a tap-in/out system.

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Just recently, the MBTA in Boston annouuced that they will be putting faregates up at North Station, South Station, and BackBay Station the 3 major rail hubs in that city where their new AFC 2.0 (next generation Charliecards) will be rolling out to tap on and tap off on the MBTA Commuter RaIl. Will the MTA follow the same path in putting faregates at Grand Central Terminal and at Penn Station for both the LIRR and Metro-North Railroad to tap on and tap off? And, Just like The T in Boston. Will the MTA introduce a Proof-Of-Payment system here in New York when the new OMNY fare payment system is rolled out?

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I'd be very surprised if they were to bring a tap on/off system to the commuter rails. In my personal opinion it would take a huge cultural shift. 

Additionally, considering the amalgam that is Penn Station, a tap system would need to cooperate with the other operators as a handful of tracks/platforms are shared.

One of the reasons I see this system is successful in the UK is because:

1.-All the National Rail services are private operated. We all know how rail services are treated when it's handled by our government.

2.- There aren't just two commuter rail stations in where people work, so there aren't massive dump-outs like at GC/Penn. A tap-out system at Penn or GC @ peak times would easily add ~10 minutes to a commute.

 

But...strangers things have happened.

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14 minutes ago, 40MntVrn said:

Additionally, considering the amalgam that is Penn Station, a tap system would need to cooperate with the other operators as a handful of tracks/platforms are shared.

Forget it. NJT decided to go with some other company, even though both SEPTA and the MTA went with Cubic.

16 minutes ago, 40MntVrn said:

1.-All the National Rail services are private operated. We all know how rail services are treated when it's handled by our government.

That's more down to giving a shit than whether or not it's privately operated.

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On 12/27/2019 at 11:59 AM, 40MntVrn said:

2.- There aren't just two commuter rail stations in where people work, so there aren't massive dump-outs like at GC/Penn. A tap-out system at Penn or GC @ peak times would easily add ~10 minutes to a commute.

Tapping in and out at intermediate stations would be even worse.  As it currently stands, passengers walk on and off.  Now envision the tap in/out at White Plains.  What is now takes a few minutes would lengthen significantly.  Passengers would HAVE TO have their electronic device ready to board and detrain.  Otherwise I can envision dwell times increase to 10 minutes at a minimum.

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6 hours ago, Truckie said:

Tapping in and out at intermediate stations would be even worse.  As it currently stands, passengers walk on and off.  Now envision the tap in/out at White Plains.  What is now takes a few minutes would lengthen significantly.  Passengers would HAVE TO have their electronic device ready to board and detrain.  Otherwise I can envision dwell times increase to 10 minutes at a minimum.

That’s why I’d rather have a hybrid system in place. I want to be able to load money on my OMNY card and be able to use it at an existing ticket machine if I want to. If people want to have their rail tickets on their phone alongside their subway/bus fare media that’s fine too, but tapping in/out just adds confusion and unneeded cost.

Just start accepting Google Pay and Apple Pay at the stations for fare payment and call it a day. (When’s MNR gonna activate those contactless readers on the TVM’s anyway?)

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11 hours ago, paulrivera said:

 (When’s MNR gonna activate those contactless readers on the TVM’s anyway?)

First I knew that they weren't active.  Then again, what do I know.  It's strictly on a need to know basis and beyond that?  It's anyone's guess.

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Truckie said:

Tapping in and out at intermediate stations would be even worse.  As it currently stands, passengers walk on and off.  Now envision the tap in/out at White Plains.  What is now takes a few minutes would lengthen significantly.  Passengers would HAVE TO have their electronic device ready to board and detrain.  Otherwise I can envision dwell times increase to 10 minutes at a minimum.

Tapping in and out is not a huge deal; at higher volume stations you can have turnstiles, and at lower volume stations you have a few strategically located readers. It's how rail services in the UK work.

Tapping a reader takes a total of like 2s, as opposed to pre-eTix buying a ticket which took something on the order of minutes. You also tap whenever is convenient to you showing up to the platform, not as the train shows up. And readers don't necessarily have to be restricted to at exits and entries; in Seattle's light rail tap readers are located throughout the platform and station complex. You could have readers located in parking lots, for example, so that people could tap in and out as they get to their cars.

Edited by bobtehpanda
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3 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

Tapping in and out is not a huge deal; at higher volume stations you can have turnstiles, and at lower volume stations you have a few strategically located readers. It's how rail services in the UK work.

Tapping a reader takes a total of like 2s, as opposed to pre-eTix buying a ticket which took something on the order of minutes. You also tap whenever is convenient to you showing up to the platform, not as the train shows up. And readers don't necessarily have to be restricted to at exits and entries; in Seattle's light rail tap readers are located throughout the platform and station complex. You could have readers located in parking lots, for example, so that people could tap in and out as they get to their cars.

Tapping in might not be a huge deal, but tapping out is just going to cause bottlenecks everywhere.

The only major stop where tapping out is going to work in MN territory is Yankee Stadium since that station was overbuilt to handle such crowding.

Stops with major exiting traffic but limited egresses like GCT, New Haven, White Plains will have hundreds of people stuck in queues for a good 10-20 minutes waiting for people to tap out. As it is, I find myself queuing to exit GCT and New Haven even though no one's tapping in or out.

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7 hours ago, paulrivera said:

Tapping in might not be a huge deal, but tapping out is just going to cause bottlenecks everywhere.

The only major stop where tapping out is going to work in MN territory is Yankee Stadium since that station was overbuilt to handle such crowding.

Stops with major exiting traffic but limited egresses like GCT, New Haven, White Plains will have hundreds of people stuck in queues for a good 10-20 minutes waiting for people to tap out. As it is, I find myself queuing to exit GCT and New Haven even though no one's tapping in or out.

I’m not sure I entirely agree with that. GCT could have turnstiles in that corridor between the central hall and the actual platform. As in all straphangers could use any turnstile whether boarding on track 15 or track 26.

Places like Croton Harmon could easily fit 8 turnstiles near their information desk.

And White Plains is currently in major renovation (including the street for taxis/pickups) the won’t be over till the summer and could easily setup a large pool of turnstiles.

The way I see it, shared spaces like Penn would remain shared so just LIRR would tap in/out not NJT. (Think of the Oculus where Path Customers tap in one section, and subway goers swipe in another...)

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15 hours ago, paulrivera said:

Tapping in might not be a huge deal, but tapping out is just going to cause bottlenecks everywhere.

The only major stop where tapping out is going to work in MN territory is Yankee Stadium since that station was overbuilt to handle such crowding.

Stops with major exiting traffic but limited egresses like GCT, New Haven, White Plains will have hundreds of people stuck in queues for a good 10-20 minutes waiting for people to tap out. As it is, I find myself queuing to exit GCT and New Haven even though no one's tapping in or out.

If you can literally dot tappers anywhere in the station, how is that going to cause bottlenecks? Unlike a gate line, you can put an optional tapper pretty much anywhere you can run wire to an electrical outlet. Put two in front of where every train door opens up and you can call it a day.

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8 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

If you can literally dot tappers anywhere in the station, how is that going to cause bottlenecks? Unlike a gate line, you can put an optional tapper pretty much anywhere you can run wire to an electrical outlet. Put two in front of where every train door opens up and you can call it a day.

This is part of the reason why I said implementing such a gross change like this will need a cultural shift.

In cities that have tap stations as opposed to fare gates usually utilize full-fare fines. The TfL is a good example of this, if you miss a tap, you're charged the full fare from your entry point. Our fare structure doesn't completely support that model, additionally people will need time to adjust to something like that.

Speaking of, MNRR put gate collection into effect New Year's morning for outbound trains (I personally hated that experience; they literally denied entry to any trains 3 minutes before departure) and it caused the same bottle necks we're discussing, even with 4 conductors validating tickets.

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1 minute ago, 40MntVrn said:

Speaking of, MNRR put gate collection into effect New Year's morning for outbound trains (I personally hated that experience; they literally denied entry to any trains 3 minutes before departure) and it caused the same bottle necks we're discussing, even with 4 conductors validating tickets.

Well there's your problem.

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3 minutes ago, 40MntVrn said:

Speaking of, MNRR put gate collection into effect New Year's morning for outbound trains (I personally hated that experience; they literally denied entry to any trains 3 minutes before departure) and it caused the same bottle necks we're discussing, even with 4 conductors validating tickets.

  • Conductors validating tickets is much slower than an electronic tap in the order of under 2s; in POP that's why ticket inspectors are rare and random.
  • 4 is not enough for any station
  • The rail experience of just waiting on the platform is stupid
7 minutes ago, 40MntVrn said:

This is part of the reason why I said implementing such a gross change like this will need a cultural shift. Our fare structure doesn't completely support that model, additionally people will need time to adjust to something like that.

Just because Rome wasn't built in a day doesn't mean it wasn't worth building.

It can be like bus lane tickets, which were phased in with warnings and then actual enforcement.

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13 minutes ago, 40MntVrn said:

In cities that have tap stations as opposed to fare gates usually utilize full-fare fines. The TfL is a good example of this, if you miss a tap, you're charged the full fare from your entry point.

I wonder how that would work in Metro-North territory where there is a lot of intermediate ridership that aren't going to GCT (and may actually be going in the reverse direction, like Fordham to White Plains or Stamford, or Yonkers to Croton-Harmon.)

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1 hour ago, paulrivera said:

       

I wonder how that would work in Metro-North territory where there is a lot of intermediate ridership that aren't going to GCT (and may actually be going in the reverse direction, like Fordham to White Plains or Stamford, or Yonkers to Croton-Harmon.)

All of those stations that you mentioned are busy enough to warrant fare gates IMO

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9 hours ago, 40MntVrn said:

In cities that have tap stations as opposed to fare gates usually utilize full-fare fines. The TfL is a good example of this, if you miss a tap, you're charged the full fare from your entry point. Our fare structure doesn't completely support that model, additionally people will need time to adjust to something like that.

Rome wasn't built in a day, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't have been built.

We have transition periods all the time. Like, for example, the time difference between the bus lane cameras being turned on and people being charged. We could arrange something similar.

9 hours ago, paulrivera said:

I wonder how that would work in Metro-North territory where there is a lot of intermediate ridership that aren't going to GCT (and may actually be going in the reverse direction, like Fordham to White Plains or Stamford, or Yonkers to Croton-Harmon.)

Tap out to save money. The money is generally not charged to the account til the end of the day (so, among other things, they can calculate if you hit the fare cap or not.)

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On 12/10/2019 at 5:11 PM, paulrivera said:

MNRR's ticket vending machines were just upgraded with contactless readers, so I don't expect any radical changes with fare collection anytime soon.

Those contactless readers were installed as part of the EMV upgrade to the ticket vending machines, which the MTA is four years late to the game on.  It is not related to OMNY.

All of the ticket machines on LIRR and Metro-North will be replaced with "Configurable Vending Machines" as part of OMNY around 2023.  The MTA's maintenance contract for the TVM's expires in 2022, at which point the machines will be about 10 years beyond their design life.

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Caltrain uses Clipper with tap on - tap off and has a large number of commuters detraining simultaneously at 4th and King and solves this issue without faregates or delays. Clipper targets are scattered around the station, but most people don't use them. Why? Because if you have an active weekly or monthly pass then you don't need to tap in and out at all! Just once a month to activate the pass.

OMNY app for commuter rail can work just like Caltrain - you must have an active ticket in the app, a paper ticket purchased in the last 4 hours from a vending machine at every station, a tapped-in pay-per-ride Clipper card, or an active monthly pass on your Clipper card, or you get a fine.

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