Home MetroCard The Second Annual MetroCard Challenge

The Second Annual MetroCard Challenge

by Benjamin Kabak

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.

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11 comments

Skip Skipson November 21, 2008 - 3:09 pm

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

Reply
Benjamin Kabak November 21, 2008 - 3:12 pm

If you — or anyone else really — is interested, I could set up a shared Google spreadsheet where we all keep track of the swipes, and it’ll calculate cost-per-ride for us.

Reply
Adam G November 21, 2008 - 3:54 pm

Benjamin, that sounds like a great idea. It’ll provide a greater profile of how real people use their MetroCards

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Benjamin Kabak November 21, 2008 - 3:58 pm

You got it.

You can find the shared spreadsheet here on Google Docs, and it doesn’t require sign in (unless it gets vandalized). Add your own line, and make sure to update it regularly.

Reply
Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog » Blog Archive » » On weekdays that look like weekends November 21, 2008 - 5:27 pm

[…] 2nd Ave. Subway History « The Second Annual MetroCard Challenge […]

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Alon Levy November 22, 2008 - 10:33 pm

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

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R2 November 24, 2008 - 1:01 pm

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.

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Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog » Blog Archive » » Checking in on the MetroCard Challenge December 5, 2008 - 12:34 pm

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

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The Day John Lennon Died - City Room Blog - NYTimes.com December 8, 2008 - 12:39 pm

[…] 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. […]

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sofia February 25, 2009 - 12:24 pm

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.

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FY2014 and NPT: The Monthly Pass Break-Evens | Sic Transit Philadelphia March 26, 2013 - 12:47 pm

[…] 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 […]

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