Subway and bus commuters can unlock unlimited rides using OMNY after 12 taps in a week, as the MTA rolls out its new fare cap on Monday.
Once passengers have paid 12 fares with OMNY between Mondays and Sundays starting Feb. 28, all remaining taps during that time are free, under the authority’s new scheme.
The initiative is part of a package of discounts and offers launched by MTA to bring passengers back as numbers still remain at around just over half of pre-pandemic figures, including a package of promotions that has debuts Friday on its two commuter services, the Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road.
“It’s about bringing runners back to the MTA system,” MTA President and CEO Janno Lieber said in a statement.
Fare capping has become commonplace in other transit systems around the world, and it means riders don’t have to choose between paying the full cost of an unlimited weekly pass up front. or pay $2.75 for each ride at the beginning of the week.
Straphangers will pay no more than $33 using OMNY during the Monday-Sunday period – which is the cost of an unlimited weekly MetroCard – but they must use the same OMNY card, contactless bank card, smartphone or smartwatch for each faucet.
About one in four rides is currently paid for with OMNY, and the MTA plans to phase out the MetroCard altogether by 2024.
MTA executives first announced the fare cap in December and will test it for at least four months to see if it brings back more commuters and motivates people to switch from using MetroCards to OMNY.
The agency estimates it will cost them $3 million to $5 million a month in lost revenue, but if it’s successful, officials could extend it or even make it permanent.
Workers have plastered the Big Apple’s transit system with playful advertisements in recent days, such as emoji-laden signs explaining the cap system, and an “OMNY Bus” to promote the contactless payment system .
On Monday, MTA will set up an OMNY Helpline at the entrance to Grand Central Terminal of trains 4, 5 and 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to answer questions about OMNY and the fare cap.
The New York Transit Museum outpost at the Downtown Commuter Center will sell pre-loaded OMNY cards available for four rides for a limited time to celebrate the launch.
OMNY cards are also sold in pharmacies and other small shops as the agency still needs to install new vending machines to sell the $5 black cards at stations.
For users of Metro-North and LIRR trains, several discounts have already hit the rails on Friday.
A new 20-trip ticket valid for 60 days is about 20% cheaper than buying the same number of trips individually, and is aimed at suburban commuters who return to work in person on certain days, according to Lieber.
“The new 20-ride ticket option was created specifically for the passenger who only goes to the office a few times a week,” the transit chief said.
The CityTicket offers a flat $5 fare for one-way trips on New York City commuter trains during off-peak weekdays, up from $7.25 previously on the Metro-North and $7.75 on the LIRR.
This is an extension of an offer already available on weekends, and similar to the existing offer Atlantic ticketwhich offers $5 anytime one-way tickets for travel between the 10 LIRR stations in Brooklyn and southeast Queens.
MTA is also reducing the price of monthly passes on commuter railroads by 10%.
However, starting Tuesday, March 1, LIRR and Metro-North riders will have to start paying full peak fares again, as MTA ends its pandemic-era markdown of having off-peak fares 24 hours a day. 24.
The two commuter rail systems have been the slowest to recover ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic in the MTA, with daily runs at 48% of 2019 numbers for Metro-North and 49% for LIRR from 1st February to the last February counts. 24.
The metro transported 55.8% of passengers before the pandemic and the buses 59.6% during this period, according to MTA account.