Robin Hood CEO Announces Purchase of 10,000 MetroCards Donated by the Gray Foundation for Distribution to 40 Community Organizations
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the launch of a new bulk sales MetroCard program as part of the Authority’s broader Welcome Back New York campaign – aimed at encouraging New Yorkers to return to the mass transit system in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, ridership on both subways and buses has reached pandemic-era records, with nearly 3.3 million riders taking the subway alone last Thursday.
The bulk sales program provides employers and large philanthropic organizations with the ability to seamlessly purchase large volumes of MetroCards that they can efficiently distribute to their employees or to organizations that assist New Yorkers in need. One such organization is Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), a non-profit that provides training and career placement assistance in the skill construction trades to women from underserved communities including low-income girls and women, transgender individuals, and nonbinary people in the New York City metropolitan area. NEW received 250 MetroCards from Robin Hood as part of a donation by the Gray Foundation of 10,000 MetroCards for distribution by Robin Hood to 40 community partners. Representatives from both NEW and Robin Hood joined MTA leaders at an event at Fulton Center subway station on Wednesday marking the launch of the new bulk sales program.
“We know bringing employees back to work is a big lift, and any incentive we can offer to ease that transition is a good thing,” said MTA Acting Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber. “Right now, MTA staff are looking at a range of fare strategies to give riders – especially low income New Yorkers -- a better deal. We’re thrilled to be working with a leading non-profit organization like Robin Hood to distribute free MetroCards and hope many employers will step forward and do the same for their workers.”
“Making Metrocards available and accessible onsite to employees is a cost-effective perk,” said MTA Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer. “Eventually, we will expand the bulk sales program to OMNY, our tap-and-go fare payment system, which has skyrocketed in popularity over the last year.”
"As we move past the pandemic and through recovery, we want to ensure that low-income New Yorkers have access to opportunities for good jobs and having access to transit is vital to finding and keeping a job. That is why Robin Hood is making 120,000 free rides on MTA buses and subways available to low-income New Yorkers immediately," said Robin Hood Chief Executive Officer Richard R. Buery Jr. "Low-income New Yorkers are the most transit-dependent yet pay as much as ten percent of their income on transit. As we distribute 10,000 free MetroCards to New Yorkers in need, we hope the turnstiles they pass through become gateways for opportunity and economic upward mobility."
“A trades career provides economic stability that empowers women to make decisions that benefit themselves, their families and their communities,” said Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) President Kathleen Culhane. “Unemployed and underemployed job seekers often discount their ability to obtain work when presented with obstacles such as commuting costs. By partnering with the Robin Hood Foundation and the MTA to provide tradeswomen and future tradeswomen access to transportation, we are aiding their ability to provide sustainable financial support and stability for themselves and their families.”
In order to participate in the MetroCard bulk sales program, employers and organizations must place a minimum order of 50 cards. Unlike with traditional MetroCard purchases, cards sold in bulk do not carry the $1.00 green fee surcharges for individual cards. Cards are pre-valued with an even number of trips: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12, as well as Ten Trip Express Bus MetroCards to align with hybrid work schedules for employees.
Employers may order MetroCards online using a credit card system by visiting http://bulkmetrocard.mta.info/ or by telephone at (646) 252-5050. MetroCard orders are processed within a few days and delivered within 2-3 days. Under the program, there is no requirement to replenish the card, so purchasers will not be left holding inventory on unused cards.
Prior to the pandemic, average weekday ridership routinely exceeded 5.5 million in the subway system. That figure fell by 95 percent to a low of roughly 300,000 daily trips in April 2020 as the number of COVID-19 cases peaked in the New York City area, before rebounding during the spring and summer of 2021. MTA employees continued to provide service for the frontline healthcare professionals and other essential workers who needed to get to work during some of the most difficult days in New York City history.
Prior to today, The New York Transit Museum was the only place where individuals or companies could purchase MetroCards in bulk without a formal contract.