A mea culpa: Universal MetroCards can be used on PATH, AirTrainBy
After my conversations with the MTA over the past few days and my initial assessment on the universal MetroCard, I received word today from a Transit spokesperson that in fact the new MetroCard offering is more universal than I had originally understood it to be. I was wrong with the information in my post last night, and I need to offer up a correction. Specifically, the new programming does indeed allow usage of time and value concurrently but only under certain circumstances.
According to Transit spokesperson Kevin Ortiz, the card works as follows: If a customer buys a 30-day pass and adds $15 to that card, the unlimited pass will be activated on first swipe, and for all subway and local bus use, the money cannot be accessed until time runs out. In other words, a straphanger can’t swipe in on time and then hand the pass back to a friend for a swipe that deducts money.
There is, however, flexibility that makes the card far more useful than I originally thought. If a customer uses the card at a location where the 30-day pass is not accepted, the money can be accessed. In other words, if a MetroCard user has a card with time and money and wants to use an express bus, PATH or the AirTrain, the monetary value of the fare will be deducted from the card as long as their is enough value on the card. So my initial understanding of the card, gleaned through conversations with MTA officials, was incorrect, and the universal card will indeed be more useful than just as a storage device.