If you don’t usually buy a weekly or monthly unlimited MetroCard, you could be getting a lot of free rides starting today!
In order to help increase subway ridership, the MTA is starting a special pilot program for those who use OMNY — the “tap and go system” that allows you to use your credit card or phone to pay for subway fare with just a tap on a digital reader at the turnstile, and which will completely replace NYC’s iconic MetroCards by 2023.
You probably have some questions about this new fare-capping program, so we’ve tried to answer them all below:
When does it start?
Monday, February 28.
How exactly does it work?
Currently, if you use OMNY you still pay $2.75 for each and every subway or bus ride. But beginning February 28, once you hit $33 during a week’s period (from 12 a.m. on Monday to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday), you will no longer be charged.
Isn’t that the same as the weekly unlimited MetroCard?
Yes, it is the equivalent of the current “weekly unlimited” MetroCard. But, you didn’t get this deal if you were only using OMNY to pay, and even if you did buy the MetroCard, this allows you to not have to pay the $33 cost up-front at the start of the week.
If you were only using OMNY, then you were paying for each and every ride, but now after 12 rides in a seven-day period, you won’t have to pay any longer. Basically, if you take the subway twice a day, you’re getting two rides per week for free. If you ride it more than that, even more.
What about the monthly unlimited card?
The unlimited monthly MetroCard is still the best deal, at $127 for 30 days, which means you’ve paid it off after about 46 rides. Again, if you take the subway or bus twice each day, that means you’re getting about 14 rides for free. The weekly unlimited would equate to $132 per month, so you’re saving about $5 per month with the unlimited monthly pass.
But, if you’ve been using OMNY, you haven’t been getting any fare capping deals, so now you should see a difference.
How long will it be going on?
The program was first presented in December and was approved by the board after a vote on December 15, starting as a four-month pilot between March 2022 and the end of June.
So it’s only for a limited time?
The acting MTA chairman and chief executive, Janno Lieber also told the New York Times that he hoped it would become a permanent feature (contingent on how it would affect the MTA’s budget).
“We want to make sure that somebody who is standing in front of the turnstile for their first commute on Monday morning who might not have the 33 bucks to outlay for a weekly ticket doesn’t have to worry about that,” Mr. Lieber told the Times. “A lot of people don’t know when they get on their first ride of the week whether they’re going to be using it 10 times or 11 times or 20 times.”
What else should I know?
Here are the rules of the new program, as shared by the MTA:
- The pilot program will initially be available for full-fare trips on New York City subways and local buses.
- The program would apply only to trips taken using OMNY, our contactless fare payment system. You must use the same contactless bank card or smart device or OMNY card for each trip.
- Customers can track their progress toward reaching unlimited rides on the OMNY website. You’ll see a more detailed trip history and information if you register for an OMNY account.
- Free transfers between subways and buses will continue to be offered to all customers under this pilot.
- Two-part trips that are linked by a free transfer between subway and bus are considered one trip toward the 12 needed to reach the free-fare threshold each week.