New York City Subway Sets Ridership Record on March 16

Photo: New York MTA

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced March 17 that the New York City Subway set a ridership record on Thursday, March 16, with 3,946,310 paid rides. This tops the previous record set on Dec. 8, 2022, by 11,000 rides. The last time the subways carried more than 3.94 million riders was March 12, 2020, when 4.1 million New Yorkers rode the subway.

“People are coming back to our subways as we have made critical investments in service and safety,” Governor Hochul said. “The MTA is the lifeblood of this city, and these ridership numbers demonstrate that New York is continuing to make a strong comeback.”

The record ridership comes as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) contactless fare payment system, OMNY, reached a major milestone as well. On March 16, subways registered a new high for OMNY taps with 1.638 million, surpassing the previous high set the day before, March 15, when 1.61 million subway customers tapped at the turnstiles. Thursday’s record, combined with the OMNY taps registered on buses, surpassed the two-million mark on a single day for the first time ever.

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “Two million OMNY taps in one day is a significant milestone for the MTA and also another reason we are creeping up on the 4 million subway rider mark. People who have tried OMNY know, easy tap-and-go with OMNY is the best way to ride the subway and bus, and I am thrilled to see customers making the switch to OMNY in record numbers.”

OMNY’s Continued Growth

OMNY continues to grow in market share among New York City Transit customers, with the first 1 million tap day reached in April of 2022. The MTA reached the 500 million total OMNY tap milestone in September of 2022 when a customer tapped in at Grand Central Terminal. OMNY has now processed cards issued in 192 of the 195 countries that issue bank cards.

OMNY customers now consistently comprise nearly half of all subway riders, with a 40% market share of paid rides. Nearly 100% of all OMNY transactions are made on customers’ own personal devices or cards, making the MTA unique among North American transit systems.

In October, OMNY was rolled out to Reduced-Fare customers, who can now make the switch from MetroCard to riding with their personal device or contactless card. Reduced-Fare customers can make the switch from MetroCard to OMNY seamlessly online with the OMNY digital assistant, which is available 24/7 at OMNY.info.

New York City Transit President Richard Davey said, “Seeing so many riders return, and using OMNY to do so, is a vote of confidence in all the measures NYC Transit has taken to provide faster, cleaner and safer service. New Yorkers are savvy commuters; they understand the layers of convenience of OMNY brings. From the “Lucky 13″ program that can net free rides to skipping the line by paying with your personal device or card, it is tailored for the hustle and bustle of the city.”

MTA Acting Chief Customer Officer Shanifah Rieara said, “Customers are endorsing the ease and convenience of OMNY in growing numbers. As we continue to help more Reduced-Fare customers and other riders switch to OMNY at Customer Service Centers throughout the system, more and more customers will be tapping their way into the system in the weeks and months to come.”

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