The New York MTA is a transportation system that provides buses, subways, and commuter trains in the Greater New York area. They also manage several bridges and tunnels in New York City. Recently, the MTA has been working on a big project to change how people pay for their rides. Instead of using a card that you swipe, they’re introducing a new way to pay called OMNY. It’s a system where you tap your phone or credit card to pay for your ride.
This project, a long time in the making, will eventually allow the MTA to retire the MetroCard system.
They’ve hit some major milestones in the last several years:
- Installing OMNY readers on all NYC buses and at all subway stations.
- Allowing 1/2 price ride option using OMNY system.
- Integrating the JFK AirTrain with OMNY payment system.
However, some MetroCard offerings were still not available with OMNY. One of these was having a weekly payment discount suitable for tourists.
OMNY introduced a fare-capping system for riders in February 2022. The system allows riders to pay a maximum of $33 for 12 rides from Monday to Sunday when the same card, device, wearable or OMNY card is used to pay for fares on city subways and buses. Once the rider has taken 12 rides, any additional rides they take during the remainder of the week will be free. The maximum fare for registered Reduced-Fare customers is $17.
The OMNY weekly fare cap program has been a convenient option for New York City commuters to save on weekly transit expenses. However, it might not work out for tourists as their visits don’t always fit into a Monday to Sunday week. In such cases, purchasing a 7-day MetroCard for $33 would be a better deal. The card activates on the first use and lasts for 7 days. However, finding places to purchase these cards is becoming more challenging, which could be a potential inconvenience.
But that’s no longer an issue, as OMNY has modified the weekly fare cap program:
You can start any day of the week: pay for 12 rides in a 7-day period and any additional rides are free. And, unlike with MetroCard, you don’t have to pay upfront. Just tap and pay as you go.
Use the same device or card all 7 days and you’ll automatically ride free after your 12th paid fare.
No need to pre-pay like when you buy a 7-Day Unlimited MetroCard. Tap with your own mobile wallet enabled device or contactless bank card, and you pay only for the trips you take. The more you ride, the sooner you’ll earn free trips.
The 7-day Unlimited MetroCard is a great deal if you plan on taking more than 12 rides on the bus and subway. If you don’t plan on taking that many rides, you’ll lose money. However, if you decide to pay per ride using MetroCard or OMNY, you may pay more than $33. With the new change in the weekly fare cap by OMNY, visitors can now use the contactless system without having to plan out their entire trip beforehand. This change brings OMNY in line with many other major metro transport systems around the world.
OMNY is improving gradually with each step taken. Although it is taking a while to integrate all the components, I can envision a future where the MetroCard will be obsolete, similar to the subway tokens that I utilized during my childhood.
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