MTA Proposing Major Improvement To OMNY Payment System

by joeheg

The New York MTA provides local and express bus, subway, and commuter rail service in Greater New York, and operates multiple toll bridges and tunnels in New York City. The MTA is in the latter part of a massive project to transition from the swipe-based Metrocard payment system to the contactless OMNY platform.

While there are OMNY readers at all Subway stations and busses, there are several reasons why the MetroCard isn’t going away tomorrow:

  • Programs for reduced fares are integrated into the MetroCard system. This includes 1/2 price rides for people over 65 or with qualifying disabilities.
  • Low-income New Yorkers are eligible for reduced fares through Fare Fares NYC.
  • Students receive MetroCards, which pay for daily rides to and from school.
  • Weekly and Monthly tickets are not available through OMNY
  • Delays integrating with other agencies which use MetroCards (JFK AirTrain, Roosevelt Island tram)

OMNY has been making slow progress in implementing all of these different systems. They finally started offering 1/2 price rides when people linked their Metrocard to an OMNY account.

The MTA also offers a fare cap of 12 rides ($33) per week from Monday-Sunday if you use the same card/device/wearable/OMNY card to pay for your fare on city subways and buses. After the 12 rides, all the rest of your rides are free for the rest of that week.

While this is great for most locals, it’s not great for tourists if your trip doesn’t conform to the Monday-Sunday calendar. It’s also problematic for workers who don’t have a set schedule. For those riders, it’s best to use either a 7 or 30-day MetroCard.

Apparently, the MTA heard the complaints about the fare cap being based on a Monday-Sunday week. The MTA website says they are “considering new fare pilots and modifying a handful of existing pilots that make taking mass transit more affordable and more flexible.” This change stood out:

A more flexible fare capping pilot with OMNY

OMNY customers will continue to be guaranteed the best weekly fare. The proposed change would allow the best fare to be guaranteed over a rolling seven-day period instead of the current fixed Monday through Sunday period. With this change, customers would be guaranteed never to pay more than the cost of a Weekly Unlimited Ride MetroCard no matter what day of the week they begin tapping — and without the burden of pre-paying.

No promise when or if this will ever happen or what it will look like, but the mention that they’re working on making the fare cap over a rolling 7-day period is welcome news to many who ride the subways and buses.

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