Subway and bus riders who use the MTA’s OMNY “tap-and-go” payment system for more than 12 single-fare trips in a seven-day period will be automatically upgraded to an unlimited weekly pass, transit officials said.
The new policy, known as “fare-capping,” will start on a trial basis on March 1, and is intended “to encourage New York’s ridership recovery and reduce costs and uncertainty for public transportation customers,” an MTA spokesman said.
As a result of the policy, riders who take 13 or more trips using OMNY between midnight Monday and 11:59 p.m. Sunday will be charged $33 flat for those fares, the MTA said.
Transit advocates have argued for years that OMNY’s technology should allow the MTA to get creative with how it charges riders for fares.
Subway ridership currently stands at under 60 percent of pre-COVID levels. Testifying before the state Assembly on Nov. 23, acting MTA Chairman Janno Lieber suggested creative approaches to fares could be an “incentive” for riders to return.
“Higher fares and fewer trains are not going to entice anyone who’s been staying away to return and we want people to return at this moment,” Lieber said. “We’re trying to … figure out ways to leverage OMNY to make the fare on the subways and the buses even more attractive.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul has already instituted a fare freeze through at least July.
The MTA board will vote on the “fare-capping” pilot on Wednesday, officials said.