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Lucking out: OMNY fare cap saved riders $1.5 million, says MTA chief Lieber

OMNY
A rider uses OMNY’s tap-and-go system.
Marc Hermann / MTA

The MTA’s weekly cap on fares for subway and bus riders using OMNY has continued to be popular among New York City straphangers, transit leaders said, giving the pilot program a good shot at becoming permanent.

More than 168,000 people have already benefited from the scheme that unlocks free rides after 12 taps within a Monday-Sunday period — or “lucky 13” as Metropolitan Transportation Authority advertising gurus have dubbed the deal — saving commuters almost $1.5 million since it launched a month ago.

“The take up is so good that it’s got a way in favor of making this permanent,” MTA Chairperson and CEO Janno Lieber told amNewYork Metro during a press conference Wednesday.

The transit honcho also hedged that statement saying the agency and its board will still have to analyze stats at the end of the cap’s four-month testing phase before making a final call.

“We have to look at the data before we make any decisions to extend the pilot or to go through the somewhat complicated MTA permanent fare adjustment process, so I don’t want to prejudge it,” Lieber said.

The fare promotion launched at the end of February and has since encouraged more riders to ditch their MetroCards with OMNY now making up 30% of MTA’s market share.

OMNY allows passengers to tap their smart device, bank card, or OMNY card rather than swipe a MetroCard.

“We want to accelerate the pace at which OMNY is adopted,” Lieber said. “We’re not so far away from the time where we will switch over, like we did from the token to the MetroCard now to the new OMNY system.”

The MetroCard is slated to be phased out by 2024.

Within the first week, 76,000 people got to “lucky 13,” Lieber revealed on March 16.

Other fare deals on the commuter railroads also saw bumps in sales.

The expanded CityTicket, which offers a flat $5 ride on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North stations within the city limits during off-peak hours sold at 100,000 tickets a week.

“This is something I’m really excited about, that people who maybe are taking a bus at a subway from some part of Queens or Brooklyn are having their commutes cut in half, if they can take a commuter railroad,” Lieber said. “That’s a huge, huge transformative benefit.”

The MTA also sold more than 33,000 of its new 20-trip tickets on the commuter trains, and logged a 53% increase in monthly ticket pass sales, which is currently offered at a 10% discount.

The agency will give the MTA board a more detailed review of the fare promotions in June, according to Lieber.

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