In its first month, the MTA’s OMNY fare capping pilot had more than 168,000 people hit a 13th ride, earning an unlimited pass for the rest of that week. The agency said this group of straphangers had gone on to ride enough to save more than $1 million in fares.

MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said at last week’s monthly MTA board meeting that these were the kind of results that could ensure the program sticks around after the four-month pilot is over.

“The take up is so good, that it’s got to weigh in favor of making this permanent,” Lieber said.

MTA data showed that 86% of people who got the bonus were subway riders, with the remaining 14% hitting the 13th ride on buses. 

More than half the people who got the bonus received it from a tap originating in Manhattan, with Times Square-42nd Street marked as the top station. In Brooklyn, the Bedford Avenue L train stop was the most popular station for riders hitting the 13th ride, and in Queens, it was the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street stop on the 7 line. Riders in Staten Island accounted for just 0.5% of the people who earned the weekly bonus, and the Bronx accounted for 5%.

People who use OMNY account for just 30% of all subway and bus users, statistics showed. Officials with the MTA said they were hoping to go all in with OMNY and fully phase out the MetroCard by 2024.

Weekend subway ridership was hovering just above 60% pre-pandemic levels, officials said this week, while weekday ridership was just below 60% of what it was before 2020. Bus ridership hovered around 60% as well. 

The MTA is currently revising its expected ridership levels for the coming months and years, officials said.

Currently, the agency said it believes it has enough money from $16 billion in federal government relief funds to cover operating expenses through 2026, but it is also anticipating a $2 billion deficit when that money runs out.

Lieber said he was in talks with lawmakers and budget experts in Albany about creating new recurring revenues for the MTA.

“The MTA’s fiscal cliff is real, and as a society, as a state, as a city, we’re going to have to figure out how to make sure the MTA is fully funded,” Lieber said last week. “Without putting the cost totally on the backs of the riders.”

The weekly fare capping pilot ends in July and would need board, and possibly legislative approval to extend or expand it to include monthly unlimited rides.