The Second Annual MetroCard Challenge


Last November, as the MTA started talking about a fare hike, I decided to see just how much I, a moderately heavy user of the subways, pay per ride. Thus was born the MetroCard Challenge.

For a month, I charted my swipes, and in the end, I found that I got a pretty good deal on the subway. I used my $76 30-day Unlimited Ride Card 74 times in one month for an average cost-per-ride of $1.03. That’s a steal.

Five days ago on Monday, with the MTA’s financial woes coming to the forefront, I bought an $81 30-day Unlimited Ride Card, and I plan to host the challenge again. So far in a little less than five days of usage, I’ve used the card 13 times for a cost-per-ride of $6.23. It’s dropping quickly.

To set the stage a little bit, I’m a New Yorker and a student. My transportation to Thanksgiving dinner involves talking the 2 or 3 from Grand Army Plaza, switching to the 4 at Nevins and disembarking on the Upper East Side. During the week, I’m a commuter student. So much like the 9-to-5 crowd, I take the subway to and from work — or in my case, school. With finals coming up, my social life will be a bit curtailed. Perhaps, this month is ideal as I’ll be approximating someone who works.

So let’s see how things end up. I know I’ll be paying well less than the best fare, and I’ll be tracking my expenditures in the side bar. Just how low my fare will be remains to be seen.

Update: I’m going to make this interactive this year. I’ve shared a spreadsheet on Google Docs for the world to use (until it gets vandalized). Add your own line and keep track of your MetroCard use throughout a month. Just remember to update it regularly or semi-regularly to watch your own cost-per-ride drop. For now, the cost-per-ride column will automatically update when you fill out the other fields.

Categories : MetroCard

11 Responses to “The Second Annual MetroCard Challenge”

  1. Skip Skipson says:

    Can I play along? I just bought my monthly today and swiped once. Hopefully I’ll remember to keep track of my swipes.

  2. Alon Levy says:

    I bought a new card today as well. I’ve already swiped four times today.

  3. R2 says:

    I generally hover around 100 rides in 30 days and my metrocard noticeably fades by the end of the month.

    I tend to go out a lot on weekends and late nights Thursdays thru Sundays (never take a taxi to go back home unless compelled), plus visiting family and of course, the weekday roundtrip for work.

    So yeah, service cuts would certainly put a damper on my life though I can’t imagine using the subway less as a result. Might as well get a good book.

  4. sofia says:

    i use my month metro card 251 times in a month. from running errands on the weekends to go to school go to work and then go back to school and them home. to go do study night at my friend house in queen. by the way i live in the Bronx my school is in Brooklyn and my job is in Manhattan and not to mention i visit a lot in Staten island i use to go there for school and i go to new jersey to visit my ex and family. i also do a lot of errand when i not busy for my mom like pick stuff she forgot home and taking to her were she work. my day start at 5 in the morning and end at 11 almost everyday. i hope yo can calculate and see it.


  1. […] my second annual MetroCard Challenge, I passed two important milestones this week. Monday marked day 15 of the challenge, and on […]

  2. […] I want to do is get involved in New York politics.” [Caucus] A status report on second annual MetroCard Challenge, where readers are encouraged to chart the use of their monthly pass on a Google doc. [2nd Ave. […]

  3. […] should acknowledge Ben Kabak’s 30-Day Metrocard Challenge as an inspiration for this post, which is much more one-dimensional than this, probably to his […]

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>