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OMNY subway reader
Photograph: Shutterstock/Chie In

New Yorkers using the tap-and-go subway payment system will get free unlimited passes

The new policy, dubbed fare-capping, will kick off on a trial basis on March 1.

Anna Rahmanan
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Anna Rahmanan
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In an effort to motivate New Yorkers to ride the subway and bus once more, the MTA announced that all commuters using OMNY’s tap-and-go payment system for more than 12 single-fare trips in a seven-day period will automatically be receiving an unlimited weekly pass.

What that means on a practical basis is that riders who take 13 or more trips paid for on OMNY between Monday at midnight and 11:59pm on Sunday will be charged a flat fare of $33 total (the price of an unlimited MetroCard). Single rides will still cost $2.75.

Dubbed fare-capping, the new system will go into trial mode beginning March 1 and will only apply when using the same credit or debit card, smart watch, smart phone or OMNY card on every ride. If scanning the same device for several people, the first tap only will be counted towards the 12 necessary threshold rides. Commuters will be able to monitor their "progress" on the official OMNY website.

The news comes as no surprise as current subway ridership numbers stand at around 55%-65% of pre-COVID levels. Bus ridership counts, on the other hand, stand at 65% of pre-pandemic numbers. An incentive will hopefully help the system out.

"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," MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said in front of the state assembly last month. "We’re trying to … figure out ways to leverage OMNY to make the fare on the subways and the buses even more attractive."

Given the fact that NYC's MetroCard is scheduled to completely drift into oblivion within the next year-and-a-half, we find the new pilot program to be extremely alluring. In preparation for it all, check out our guide to everything you need to know about the OMNY card, the MetroCard replacement, right here

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