Home Fare Hikes The fear of a $130 unlimited MetroCard

The fear of a $130 unlimited MetroCard

by Benjamin Kabak

As the MTA gears up to host a slate of public hearings in September on the fare hike proposal, the Authority has officially released the details of the competing plans. Either the monthly MetroCard will have a rider cap or the cost will sneak past $100. The news coverage though has focused on a third proposal: the cost of a true unlimited ride card if the MTA were to adopt both fare options.

Riders stunned by $130 monthly card!” says the Daily News. “Fare hike just got steeper!” NBC New York proclaims. There is but one problem, as MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said to me, “This is not an official MTA proposal.”

The official fare proposals are pretty straightforward as the MTA works to raise fare revenues by 7.5 percent. The base fare — paid by just 14 percent of riders — will remain at $2.25, but disposable single-ride tickets will come with a 25-cent surcharge. All new MetroCards will come with a $1 fee, but the MTA says few, if any regular riders, will have to pay. I’ve also been told that Unlimited Ride cards will be refillable when this fee goes into effect as well.

“This is a charge that no one needs to incur: most everyone has a MetroCard in hand, which can be reloaded in system at no cost,” the authority said. “If the card has expired, MetroCard vending machines will offer to load any remaining value on a new card at no cost; passes will now be reloadable with time or value without cost; and the charge will not apply to out of system vendor sales, elderly/disabled customers, transit benefit organization customers, combination commuter railroad-MetroCard ticket users, or stolen cards.”

The pay-per-ride discount will be decreased from 15 percent for purchases of at least $8 to 7 percent of purchases of at least $10. Approximately 36 percent of subway riders use the pay-per-ride bonus, and these straphangers will see their effective base fare jump from $1.96 a ride to $2.10 per swipe.

The competing unlimited ride proposals — one with capped cards and one without — require a table:

Pass Type Current Fare Unlimited Proposal Capped Proposal
30-Day Card $89 $104 $99/90 trips
Fare Per Trip      
59 rides $1.51 $1.76 $1.68
90 rides $0.99 $1.16 $1.1
110 rides $0.81 $0.94 N/A
       
7-Day Card $27 $29 $28/22 trips
Fare Per Trip      
16 rides $1.69 $1.81 $1.75
22 rides $1.23 $1.32 $1.27
30 rides $0.90 $0.97 N/A

The barely-used 14-day and 1-day MetroCards will be eliminated.

Now, these numbers weren’t chosen at random by the MTA. Rather, straphangers who use the unlimited card cards make, on average, 59 trips over the 30-day span and 16 trips on the seven-day cards. Transfers would not count against the cap, and the authority explains the reasons behind the two proposals. “An unlimited pass provides the convenience of not having to consider the number of trips, but has a higher price,” it said. “The capped pass would limit the total number of trips that can be taken, but with a smaller fare increase.”

The $130 figure — which has scared and scarred New York subway riders — came about because the MTA Board asked the authority to include a joint proposal on the fare hike hearing materials. How much would it cost to include both a capped option and true unlimited ride card? Since the MTA wants to limit fraudulent uses of the unlimited MetroCards and ensure that the heaviest of users are shouldering their fair share of the fare burden, the $130 amount was released as an estimate. “To ensure maximum flexibility for the Board in making its determination, and to encourage robust public discourse, the public notice of fare and toll adjustments provides some leeway to allow for the adoption of other alternative pricing combinations,” Donovan told me.

Still, as the people protest, one MTA Board member doubts the agency will embrace such a high figure simply due to sticker shock. Even if most people wouldn’t need or have to pay the $130 card, that the idea exists could be a blow to what little faith the public has in the MTA. “It’s not going to happen,” Andrew Albert said to The Post.

It makes for a good headline, but when all is said and done, we’ll be facing capped cards that cost less than $100, for now, or an uncapped card that require us to fork over $100 a deal. The $130 card elicits fear that is unwarranted. For now, these monthly options are still good deals, but the prices just keep on going up, up, up as the authority tries to avoid more service cuts.

Let’s end this one with a poll. Pick your poison.

Would you rather:
View Results

You may also like

54 comments

oscar August 24, 2010 - 5:14 pm

can’t we have both?
the capped one would work fine for me…while i know others that really need the unlimited

Reply
Benjamin Kabak August 24, 2010 - 5:15 pm

If you want both, the unlimited ride card will cost around $130. That’s the MTA’s point here. To ensure that the people who absolutely need the unlimited rides are the only ones using it, they’re going to charge more for it.

Reply
SEAN August 24, 2010 - 5:34 pm

$130 for unlimited rides or $99 for 90 rides? The public will say no to either. They will demand a lower price for unlimited rides or they will stop using the system outright. I’ll garentee it.

Reply
rhywun August 24, 2010 - 11:12 pm

Oh? The people who complain the most will be those even more likely than the rest of us who have no choice.

Reply
Alon Levy August 24, 2010 - 5:43 pm

Things like this make me regret that I accidentally embarrassed myself in front of a potential employer in Paris.

Reply
D Train August 24, 2010 - 5:53 pm

The whole $1 surcharge on “unlimited” cards is what gets my goat. After a robust 70-80 trips+bus transfers each month, I frequently get “Card Read Error” toward the end of my 30 days. If you are a frequent user of the system, you won’t be able to refill the 30 day card without having a disaster of a time for the next 30 days. I can’t wait for full contactless fares throughout the system.

Reply
Benjamin Kabak August 24, 2010 - 6:39 pm

See this comment. As I understand it, you’ll be able to exchange “Card Read Error” cards for no surcharge.

Reply
Kevin August 25, 2010 - 9:27 am

Sure you can exchange it but it’s a tremendous hassle. If only they could hurry up with the smart cards to minimize the instances of card read errors.

Reply
Sharon August 25, 2010 - 3:24 pm

that will be a mute point in about 2 years as contact less cards are here. Just got back from Montreal and the contact less cards are great but they will not speed up entrance onto buses as much as people think. The machine spit out paper cards for a daily unlimited pass

Reply
digamma August 24, 2010 - 5:55 pm

“All new MetroCards will come with a $1 fee, but the MTA says few, if any regular riders, will have to pay. ”

BS. Those cards are not durable like Oyster or Clipper cards. They get scratched up. You’ll be paying that dollar at least every six months. (Which may be a fair price given the amount it will collect from tourists, but let’s be honest about it.)

“Transfers would not count against the cap”

Of course, that depends on your definition of “transfer”. One use case for the unlimited card is transferring between the G and J at Hewes and Broadway. But Transit doesn’t count that as a transfer. Likewise the 3 and L at Livonia.

Reply
ajedrez August 24, 2010 - 6:35 pm

Maybe there would be a way of traing in the old MetroCard for a new one for free.

Reply
Benjamin Kabak August 24, 2010 - 6:38 pm

The next quote from the MTA explains it. They’re not going to charge you for turning in expired or damaged cards to get a new one. The same will hold for unlimited cards that have expired. Really, the $1 fee few will have to pay.

Reply
Christopher Stephens August 24, 2010 - 6:15 pm

I’d like to be able to find out how many trips I actually make each month on my unlimited monthly card before I start having to make these decisions. Apart from scrupulous manual record keeping, is there any other way of finding out how many trips I made on the card? I know that data is out there, but is it available to the average user?

Reply
ajedrez August 24, 2010 - 6:31 pm

According to the MTA, the average monthly MetroCard takes about 59 trips that they would’ve otherwise had to pay a fare for.
As far as your trips go, I’m sure there would be a system of keeping track. Unfortunately, it would probably happen after (and if) the cap is implemented.
On my Student MetroCard, when I take the bus, it says “Student OK”, but doesn’t tell me the number of rides I took and how many are left. On the subway (and at a MetroCard reader), however, it tells me how many rides are left. Hopefully, they do something like that on the bus as well if thy implement the cap.

Reply
Sharon August 25, 2010 - 3:27 pm

Capping metrocards is a fools gain. many of the riders would otherwise not be taken thus cutting the amount you hope to make and economic activity. They need better enforcement of scammer Better enforcement is what is needed.

Reply
John Paul N. August 24, 2010 - 6:35 pm

The short answer is, the MTA wouldn’t release that data due to privacy reasons, plus the data may be inaccurate at times. This thread goes into further detail.

Reply
AK August 25, 2010 - 9:49 am

Yes, the data is available. You need to send your card to MTA Metrocard Services and ask for a printout of use (a really neat document actually).

Reply
ajedrez August 24, 2010 - 6:24 pm

I don’t really see the point in eliminating the One-Day Fun Pass. A lot of tourists use the Fun Pass and might be discouraged from using mass transit to see the city (then again, they might just use a weekly MetroCard).

I agree with the board member for the following reason:

Currently, the 10% of unlimited users that use over 90 rides are subsidized by the 90% of users that don’t use over 90 rides. If there were 2 options: a “capped” MetroCard and Unlimited MetroCard, that subsdy woul cease to exist, making those 10% pay the full cost ofthei rides.
However, those riders might try to consolidate trips to be able to buy the “capped” MetroCard. As a result, there are fewer users to subsidize the Unlimited MetroCard, meaning that, eventually, it would becom more and more unaffordable until it is finally phased out, which I don’t think is the goal.

I think, in the end, they will end up charging $104 for an Unlimited MetroCard, since most riders would rather pay $5 for “peace of mind” to assure that they don’t run short when they are in a hurry (not only the cost of the rides, but the fact that a person might have to stop and buy a MetroCard when they are in a hurry and a train is pulling in.

Reply
Alon Levy August 24, 2010 - 7:23 pm

Currently, the 10% of unlimited users that use over 90 rides are subsidized by the 90% of users that don’t use over 90 rides.

They’re almost certainly not. First, many of them use the fact that the card is unlimited to make out-of-system transfers that aren’t free with a pay-per-ride. And second, heavy users can’t make 90 peak-hour, peak-direction trips per month; most likely, their heavy use comes either from unfree transfers or from off-peak travel, which is more or less free for the MTA to provide.

Reply
ajedrez August 24, 2010 - 8:26 pm

My point was that the MTA gets a certain amount of revenue from Unlimited MetroCards. They plan to hit Unlimited MetroCard users in one of two ways-either raising the fare by $15 for everybody or raising the fare by $9 for riders using 90 or fewer swipes while raising the fare by $41 for riders using over 90 swipes. Either way, they accomplish their goal of raising a certain amount of revenue while placing the highest burden on riders who, statistically, can afford to pay a higher fare (I forgot where I read it, but the average pay-per-ride MetroCard user earns $36,000 per year, the average weekly MetroCard user earns $38,000 per year, and the average monthly MetroCard user earns $66,000 per year). The question is how to divide the burden.

Reply
Alon Levy August 25, 2010 - 5:58 am

The best industry practice is not to demographically profile people, but to minimize fare collection costs. This means a) dumping the pay-the-driver system on buses, b) minimizing the number of transactions. Both work best with robust unlimited monthly cards, with large discounts over the base fare. The MTA is trying to do it in patches – $1 surcharge here, $0.25 surcharge there, vague promises about how smartcards will solve everything – which pretty much guarantees it will maximize cost and make the system incomprehensible.

Reply
Sharon August 25, 2010 - 3:35 pm

The system should encourage unlimited ride cards over pay per ride. The first step should be to raise the base fare to $3 and offer 6 ride card for $15 20 ride card for $42 and then an unlimited rider card for $90. The more people on unlimited the fewer people buying cards on a daily basis. Offer an assistance program for the working poor to allow them to afford the monthly card. One way is to take money directly from their paycheck or welfare check.

As for tourists, unlimited ride day passes are a must. Most visitors do not stay a week and the pass encourages people use the subway and SPEND MORE MONEY. Last week I bought 2 $7 unlimited up in montreal and used something like 10 rides per card. Knowing that the cost was fixed, i spent more in town.

John August 24, 2010 - 6:27 pm

I think we should remember where we live, and the fact that the one thing that allows this city to function in the awesome way that it does is the New York City Subway. No matter how much they raise the price, the MTA constantly loses money in providing the service so many of us take for granted.

Even with a $130 MetroCard, 90 rides is only $1.44 per ride. $1.44 to be able to travel, if you needed to, from Far Rockaway in Queens to Wakefield in the Bronx. That’s a driving distance of 24.5 miles. The current US average mpg in a passenger vehicle is 19.8 miles. Current gas prices make that about a $3.25 trip in a car, providing there is absolutely no traffic, no accidents, and no construction that would make that a hellish and possibly two hour one-way trip. In roughly that same amount of time, you appreciate a subway ride at half the cost with many less headaches.

Barely anyone makes that trip, but you know the point I’m trying to make. What would most of us do if, say, the MTA drastically cut all bus service, or eliminated even more routes to save the money that we couldn’t be bothered to spend? Can you afford the time and money that you would have to spend anyway if those potential service cuts were made because raised prices didn’t happen? There are so many reasons this city is a great place to live, but at the end of the day, the subway really is what makes it all so accessible. We should remember this before we get so upset with having to pay our fair share for this luxury.

Reply
ajedrez August 24, 2010 - 6:42 pm

The real estate values of property in Manhattan would be through the roof if it weren’t for mass transit,and everybody would have to either pay the costs of high rent in Manhattan or the high costs of owning a car. At least it makes it affordable to live in NYC.
As far as service reductons go, there is a balance between fare hikes and service reductions. The MTA shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money subsidizing routes with 1 or 2 passengers per bus, but it shouldn’t be cutting routes that are crowded because they are expensive to operate because they couldn’t raise the fare.

Reply
Alon Levy August 24, 2010 - 7:24 pm

$1.44 to be able to travel, if you needed to, from Far Rockaway in Queens to Wakefield in the Bronx.

How many people actually use the subway to travel between Wakefield and Far Rockaway?

Reply
nycpat August 25, 2010 - 1:18 am

I’ve given directions many times at 241st and Dyre in the early hours of the morning to people going to JFK. I’ve had regulars ride from Woodlawn to New Lots and vice versa.

Reply
ajedrez August 25, 2010 - 1:35 am

The thing is that a train costs less per person to operate than a bus. A train can get those people to their destination at the other end of the city in anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half, meaning that the MTA has to only pay the driver for that amount of time.
Think of it this way: A train can carry up to 15 times as many people as a bus. The MTA pays the conductor and motorman, so now we are down to 7.5 times as efficient. Then deduct the additional maintainance so we are down to, lets say 3 times as efficient as a bus. But, factor in that a train can move twice as fast as a bus, and you potentially have a train that is 6 times as cost efficient per passenger per mile than a bus.
Meaning that, that distance of about 30 miles on the subway costs as much to the MTA as much as 5 miles on a bus. If a crowded route like the S46 on Staten Island travels 5 miles and has a cost of $1.96 per passenger, then that trip might only cost the MTA around that same amount, meaning that the MTA didn’t lose that much money on the passenger at all.

Reply
Alon Levy August 25, 2010 - 4:49 pm

Is “many” more than 10? 20?

In case anyone’s interested, the subway carries a total of 10 billion passenger-miles a year (link), which means the average trip is a little more than 6 miles.

Reply
John Paul N. August 24, 2010 - 6:44 pm

People are able to pay monthly cell phone bills, Cable/satellite bills, utility bills, etc. that are close to $100, but will raise so much of an uproar over monthly public transportation costs. Draw your own conclusions, please.

“She needs to sort out her priorities” is one of my favorite quotes from the Harry Potter films.

Reply
Nesta August 24, 2010 - 7:19 pm

$130 a month for unlimited access to the NYC subway system seems very fair to me. I really hope they up the price to at least $125.

Reply
Ed August 24, 2010 - 8:32 pm

I’m doing the calculations for myself. I’ve counted 22 weekdays a month, that is 44 trips I have to take, unless I take a bike. I probably make 12 weekend trips a month. Through in about a half a dozen or so times I have to run an errand after work involving a subway trip, and I probably use the subway just under 70 times a month. Even if I’m lowballing these figures, I seem to be a candidate for the capped version.

But I would hate to be someone who has to use the subway 3-4 times each weekday, every weekday.

$99 for 99 rides a month would be better.

Reply
Andrew August 24, 2010 - 9:25 pm

I’ll say it yet again: heavy usage is not fraud. There’s nothing fraudulent about taking 10 rides per day on an unlimited card. If the goal were to put swipers out of business, that could be done far more easily and unobtrusively by tinkering with the lockout time.

And as I’ve also pointed out before, heavy usage as measured by number of swipes does not translate to heavy usage as measured by costs to the agency. Somebody who commutes twice a day during rush hours from Far Rockaway to Manhattan (or beyond), and never uses the subway for any other trips, probably costs the agency even more, despite making only 44 swipes in the average month.

Reply
Benjamin Kabak August 24, 2010 - 9:26 pm

It’s not about costs though; it’s about capturing revenue. As we’ve discussed a few times around here, the average fare is lower today in terms of inflation-adjusted dollars than it was in 1996. The MTA wants to close that gap.

Reply
Andrew August 24, 2010 - 9:35 pm

I understand that. I’m suggesting that the gap not be closed in a way that would, in the long term, slightly discourage short off-peak trips in favor of long peak trips. And I’m also objecting to your use of the word “fraud” whenever this issue comes up.

Reply
Benjamin Kabak August 24, 2010 - 9:40 pm

I understand your objections to fraud, but that’s not really my word. It’s what the MTA says they’re also hoping to combat. It’s tough to get numbers on MetroCard fraud, but a few percentage points of unlimited ride swipes are fraudulent. It’s not negligible.

Reply
Ben Heath August 24, 2010 - 9:52 pm

Ben,

Have you — or any of your readers — ever actually seen someone trying to sell a MetroCard swipe. Granted I’ve only been riding the rails for four years, but I’ve never observed this phenomenon, and I don’t think it’s an economically viable way to make illicit income. Better to scam tourists on 42nd or 125th streets.

It just seems that this whole “MetroCard fraud” thing plays right into the hands of MTA efforts to raise fares, without a whole lot of evidence to indicate there is really a problem.

Benjamin Kabak August 24, 2010 - 11:14 pm

I’ve seen them frequently at the unstaffed entrance to Columbus Circle on the northbound 1 platform and at the various Chinatown stops as well. This summer, guys selling swipes were semiregulars at the north end of City Hall/Chambers St. now that MTA employees or cops rarely frequent the entrance. I’ve gotten emails from people who say that it’s rampant in areas of Queens and the Bronx.

I certainly think the MTA plays up fraud as a compelling reason to boost the unlimited ride cards, but it happens.

Andrew August 24, 2010 - 11:32 pm

I’ve never seen them at Columbus Circle, which I use pretty frequently, but maybe we use the station at different times of day.

I did see one last week at 57th and 6th (I don’t know if that’s a regular trouble spot, since I don’t often use that station). I was exiting, but he offered me a ride anyway.

Sharon August 25, 2010 - 3:44 pm

The mta should hire their own fare enforcement officers. Obviously the Mayor and NYPD don’t want to put this to a stop. It can be done just as Guiliani put an end to the squeegy men (which are back by the way)

tacony palmyra August 25, 2010 - 11:14 am

I’ve only seen people selling swipes a couple times (and I’m a “heavy user” in Harlem and the Bronx). The reverse is rampant though: you exit the turnstiles and people ask you “You got unlimited? Can you swipe me in?” — sometimes with a dollar ready to buy your swipe, sometimes hoping that you’ll swipe them in for free.

I agree though that “fraudulent” unlimited card use is being overstated here as a revenue loss, as a lot of these people just wouldn’t make the trip otherwise. It’s like the intellectual property statistics that refuse to acknowledge that every mp3 downloaded does not represent a lost sale, because most downloaders would just go without owning the CD otherwise.

Andrew August 24, 2010 - 11:30 pm

Where have you seen any indication from the MTA that this particular proposal has anything to do with fraud? That’s one of the reasons given for eliminating the Fun Pass (“Also the 1-Day pass is often associated with scammers who use the card to illegally sell swipes in the system”) but I haven’t seen it listed in connection with the capping proposal.

Again – if the goal is to wipe out swipers, tweak the lockout period.

James D August 24, 2010 - 11:37 pm

I am very skeptical about what sort of average this 59 figure is. Last time they mentioned an average, it was about 71.5. It sounds as if it’s a positively-skewed distribution, with 71.5 being the mean and 59 being the mode. Or maybe they’re using “average” in its non-statistical sense of “here is our weasel-worded case study of Joe Q. Public”.

The other part of the distribution we can re-create is the top end. Seeing as the $31 difference between the cards is just under 15 rides in the two-card system, to generate the same revenue as the $104 proposal, approximately 16% of 30-Day Unlimited users are making 105 trips or more per month. So it’s obviously far more than the 10% estimate that is being thrown around that are over 90 rides: 30% is a rough ball-park figure from the information we have.

But really, this is clearly just a psychological game. Riders with three-legged commutes would have no leisure journeys at all on the 90-ride capped card. That option is going to be portrayed politically as being nasty to people in Eastern Queens. In the fallout, the 30-Day Unlimited is eased into three figures with little complaint.

Reply
Benjamin Kabak August 24, 2010 - 11:42 pm

They’d have leisure journeys, but they’d probably have to buy 13 cards per year instead of 12.

Reply
ajedrez August 25, 2010 - 12:37 am

When I said 10%, I was just using it as an example to show how the cross-subsidy works. Now that I see your math, 16% seems about right, but not for over 105 trips-for over 90 trips.
If, out of every 100 people, 16 use over 90 rides, the MTA’s math works like this:

16*130=2,080
84*99=8,316
2,080+8,316=10,396

100*104=10,400

I think the 71.5 rides could be unlinked trips, meaning that transfers were counted as a separate trip. A person could’ve made 59 trips that would’ve otherwise cost a fare, but 12 or 13 of those trips involved a transfer.

Reply
Alon Levy August 25, 2010 - 6:03 am

This is the wrong way to think about things. Many of the over-90 people would not just switch to the $130 card. They’d stop making illegal out-of-system transfers, suffering longer journeys. They’d make fewer discretionary trips. They’d buy 90-ride cards at slightly higher frequency. They’d almost never go for $130 cards; that would be like buying 2 items for the price of 3.

Reply
ajedrez August 25, 2010 - 1:17 pm

Agreed. The MTA is making the faulty assumption that people who take those trips would continue to pay the full fare. There are times when people make short trips, say from 49th Street to 34th Street, just because they had an Unlimited MetroCard.

Reply
Scott E August 25, 2010 - 8:38 am

The fare structure is getting too complex, what with bonuses (15% or 7%), surcharges (single ride cards), fees (new Metrocards), limited-unlimiteds, etc. It’s like figuring out cell-phone rate plans.

NYCT has this great concept called the EasyPayXpress, it’s just not implemented right. It encourages (actually, forces) the use of a refillable, durable plastic card. Encourage use of this card, and you’ll minimize the problem of Metrocard-littered stations, vending machine maintenance, etc, and you can do away with the silly fees, surcharges, and bonuses. What follows are guesses at prices (I don’t have the info to actually figure out what it should be to meet the financial needs).

Traditional Metrocard
Single Ride: $3.00
Pay-per-ride (4 ride, $10 minimum): $2.50/ride
30-day/90 ride: $110

EasyPayExpress
Pay-per-ride: $2.25/ride, minimum 20 rides ($45), auto-replenishment when balance falls below cardholder’s average 3-day fare.
30-day/90 Trip: $99, with additional trips charged at pay-per-ride rate of $2.25.

Reply
Sharon August 25, 2010 - 3:49 pm

Your right they need to encourage Ez-pay express and the way it will get done is by offering lower prices. We spend way to much on station agents, MVM repair etc.

Any such plan must include a way for people without bank accounts to participate. One way is to sell refill cards the same way they sell refill phone cards . In a few years you will be able to pay with your cell phone.

Reply
Streetsblog New York City » Today’s Headlines August 25, 2010 - 9:05 am

[…] Ben Kabak: Don't Worry About $130 MetroCards […]

Reply
JebO August 25, 2010 - 9:56 am

I’d like to see the results of a poll that offered these three choices:

1) A 30-day unlimited card for $104.
2) A 30-day/90-ride card for $99.
3) A 30-day unlimited card for $130 OR a 30-day/90 ride card for $99. (Maybe some months you expect to work as a messenger and some months you’ll just be temping at a 9-to-5 job and you want to be able to have the option?)

Reply
MRB August 25, 2010 - 10:18 am

I’d like it if they saved the one-day MetroCard. It’s absolutely perfect for out-of-town guests who don’t know the system well and want to visit a few places. Frequently, I’ll have friends come in to Penn Station, take the subway to brooklyn, we’ll take a subway somewhere else, and then probably hit two places in manhattan before heading back home, then back to penn station the next day. That’s 6 rides, and many people would rather pay $10 and know they are covered for the night and the next morning then have to continuously load up a card.

Reply
ajedrez August 25, 2010 - 11:54 pm

By the way, how would a “capped” express bus MetroCard work out? The express bus MetroCard also works on local buses, so it would be hard to keep track of the usage. Unless they make it invalid on local buses.

Reply
cb September 17, 2010 - 3:45 am

the $1 fee really enrages me. i have a wage-works credit card that gets pre-tax money put on it once a month. once a month i get to buy a 30 day metrocard using my wageworks credit card.
my 30 day unlimited card almost every month shows wear, to the point where there are spots of the mag-stripe worn off.

so when my metrocard fails due to wear and tear (from dirty readers), half-way ino its 2nd month, what do i do? mail it in and wait 2-4 weeks for the replacement, with the remaining # of days on it? my wageworks creditcard hasn’t got next month’s money on it yet, so i cant get a new metrocard with it! Thus, i gotta buy a new card (cash / post-tax $’s) and pay another fee?
the booth agent (where they still exist) should be able to void & reissue a card on the spot, based upon the printed s/n. but i guess there *could* be fraud there… if a card is unreadable via mag stripe, the s/n printed on the card could be forged.

if they made decent cards & readers, then they have a leg to stand on for charging a fee. otherwise this fee is extortion.

Reply
RC August 10, 2011 - 3:59 pm

“READ ERROR” (on the bus)

raise your hands if you always get this message toward the end of your unlimited monthly card?

Reply

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy