MetroCard, New York City

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  • ticket machine at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal
    ticket machine at the Staten Island...
    by Peterodl
  • MetroCard
    by esterspain
  • Subway at 125th Street
    Subway at 125th Street
    by barryg23
  • MetroCard

    by nycguy10002 Updated May 18, 2015

    The amounts shown below are current as of the day this is being posted reflecting the increase put into effect in March 2015.

    The MetroCard, a gold and blue thin plastic coated card with a magnetic stripe upon which a dollar value or pass is stored. There can be variations on the back of the card. There can also be variations on the face if the MTA has created a 'theme' card or sold the space for advertising.

    The fare on NYC Subway is $2.75 when using a MetroCard. If a single fare card is purchased from a MetroCard Vending Machine then the fare is $3.00.
    The fare on NYC buses is $2.75 in coins (no pennies please) or MetroCard.

    MetroCards may be purchased at attended subway station booths as well as from MetroCard Vending Machines (MVMs) in the stations. The booths accept cash only and the minimum purchase of a new MetroCard is $5.00 (plus $1.00 fee). The large MVMs accept cash, credit or debit cards. The minimum cash transaction in the MVM is 5 cents. The minimum credit/debit transaction in the MVM is $2.50 (and only for refilling/adding value to an existing MetroCard). MVMs do not accept transactions that are not in 5 cent increments,

    Important note: There is a $1.00 fee for the purchase of a new MetroCard from either a booth or MVM. There is no charge to refill an existing card.

    When using cash in the MVMs please note that the maximum change given is $9.00. Dollar coins are given in change from the MVM’s. The smaller MVMs are credit/debit card only. There is a strict limit of 2 transactions per credit/debit card in a 24 hour period.
    If you use a large denomination bill for a small value transaction and the amount of change to be given is in excess of $9.00, the MVM will not complete the transaction.

    Example.: Purchasing a $3.00 single ride card and using a $20.00 bill. Since the amount of change would be $17.00, the transaction will not complete.

    At a point in the transaction, the MVM will ask for your Zip Code. For those visiting from outside the U.S., the Zip Code(s) are 5 digit mail codes. If the MVM requests a zip code and you are using a debit/credit card not issued in the U.S. then enter ‘99999’ on the keypad and then press the enter key. This tells the MVM that the card isn’t a U.S. based card and it will then proceed with the transaction.

    Single fare cards ($3.00) are sold at the large MVMs only. They are not sold at subway booths. These cards are valid for one use either on the subway or a bus within 2 hours of purchase. There are no free transfers between subway and bus on the single fare card.
    Single fare cards cannot be refilled.

    MetroCards with pre-set amounts are sold at various newsstands and stores. There will be a MetroCard sign in the window of the store.

    The basic MetroCard form is the same whether the card is a regular (Pay-Per-Ride) or Unlimited.

    There are many options to consider when purchasing a MetroCard:

    Important note: There is a $1.00 fee for the purchase of a new MetroCard from either a booth or MVM. There is no charge to refill an existing card.

    1) Pay-Per-Ride (PPR) [also called a regular MetroCard] - Any amount up to $80.00 may be placed upon the card. Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard purchases of $5.50 and over will get a 11% bonus:

    Examples:
    $5.50 will result in a value of $6.11 on the card, which is valid for 2 fares with 61 cents left over,

    $22.30 will result in a value of $24.75 on the card, which is valid for 9 fares with no amount left over.

    A maximum of 4 fares can be paid in the same turnstile/station on a PPR card. After that the card is “locked out” for 18 minutes. If traveling with more than 2 people it may be best that each have their own card.

    A new PPR card is valid for a year or more (expiration date is printed on back of card) so any fares not used can be used later. After that the value can be transferred to a new card.

    When used on the subway first, the card will be encoded, by the turnstile, with a free transfer to a bus (if done within 2 hours of use). If used on a bus first then a free transfer to the subway (or another bus route) is encoded onto the card. The same 2 hour limit applies.

    2) Unlimited ride – valid for use by only one person:
    After each use the card is locked out for 18 minutes.

    7 Day – The cost of this card is $31.00 and is good for unlimited riding for 7 days from the point that the card is first used.
    30 Day - The cost of this card is $116.50 and is good for unlimited riding for 30 days from the point that the card is first used.

    The “Fun-Pass” or Day unlimited ride card and `14 day Unlimited card were discontinued in 2010.

    Each MetroCard (except the single ride) can be refilled with either a dollar amount or an Unlimited fare pass. If you put an unlimited pass onto a regular card that already has money on it, the Unlimited Pass will be activated first upon the next use of the card. Once the unlimited part expires then any cash value will be available. There is no additional charge to refill a MetroCard.

    Please note that MetroCards are non-refundable but can be exchanged if defective. If a station agent (in a booth) can read the card, they can replace it with the current value with a new one (at no cost). If they can’t then they will give you a form & envelope so you can mail the card to the MTA. There the card will be examined and replaced as needed. This process can take several months,

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  • MetroCard value

    by nycguy10002 Written May 16, 2015

    I read with some interest what gilabrand wrote as for a while I felt the same way.

    I am, by profession, a financial/budget analyst and I had decided some time ago to think the whole situation out.

    I have arrived at the conclusion that the MTA is not being enriched at any time, in fact it costs the MTA money at some point.

    I will explain.

    First a few terms I will use (a lot):

    "real money" - this is the actual amount that YOU put on a MetroCard (not including that one time $1.00 fee for a new card). It makes no difference whether it is cash or credit/debit. This is your out-of-pocket cost.

    "bonus value" - this is the amount put on a MetroCard whenever you put "real money" of $5.50 or more on the MetroCard, It equals 11% of the amount put on the card at that time (not any exisiting balance). When the bonus value is added it doesn't cost the MTA anything until it is actually applied when a fare is paid. (They don't really benefit if the bonus amount isn't used)

    "total value" - this is the combination of what you put on the card (real money) plus what the MTA put on th card as a bonus (bonus value).

    Keep in mind that MetroCard Vending Machines (MVM) accept cash/credit/debit and will accept transactions that are in multiples of 5 cents. A subway booth is cash only and will accept transactions in any amount. All Metrocards (with the exception of the $3.00 single ride and special 1 ride and 2 ride cards) are refillable at a MVM or booth up until the date printed on the back of the card.

    Example:

    You put $10 on a MetroCard. For that $10 (real money) you are getting 3 full fares ($8.25) with $1.75 remaining. To that the MTA adds the 11% bonus of $1.10 (bonus value) bringing the total value to $11.10 which gets you 4 fares and 10 cents remaining.

    When you use that 4th fare you are using the remaining $1.75 of your real money plus $1.00 of the MTA's bonus value. That is when the bonus value becomes real money off the MTA's books - but it is their cost not yours.

    Now what to do with that 10 cents remaining. You can:

    1) add $2.65 of real money at a MVM or booth to make a total value of $2.75 for 1 fare.
    2) leave it as is and continue to add much more real money and let the bonus value build up so that you can add less real money later on to get to a full fare.

    Example #2

    You put $15 on a MetroCard. For that $15 (real money) you are getting 5 full fares ($13.75) with $1.25 remaining. To that the MTA adds the 11% bonus of $1.65 (bonus value) bringing the total value to $16.65 which gets you 6 fares and 15 cents remaining.

    When you use that 6th fare you are using the remaining $1.25 of your real money plus $1.50 of the MTA's bonus value. That is when the bonus value becomes real money off the MTA's books - but it is their cost not yours.

    Now what to do with that 15 cents remaining. You can:

    1) add $2.60 of real money at a MVM or booth to make a total value of $2.75 for 1 fare.
    2) leave it as is and continue to add much more real money and let the bonus value build up so that you can add less real money later on to get to a full fare.

    I am going to list below some basic amounts that you can add and the resulting leftover balance after the bonus value is added and the fares used. Any line that starts with a * indicates that there would be no amount left over afte all fares are paid. ** means that there is a selection on the MVM screen for the amount. Other amounts (in multiples of 5 cents) can be added using the "Other amounts" selection.

    Note: the first amount is the real money you would add to the card. The bonus value is added by the MTA.

    2 fares $5.50 + bonus value of 61 cents - total value $6.11 (2 full fares [$5.50] with 61 cents left over)
    3 fares $7.45 + bonus value 82 cents - total value $8.27 (3 full fares [$8.25] with 2 cents left over)
    ** 4 fares $10.00 + bonus value of $1.10 - total value of $11.10 (4 full fares [$11.00] with 10 cents left over)
    5 fares $12.40 + bonus value of $1.36 - total value of $13.76 (5 full fares [$13.75] with 1 cent left over)
    6 fares $14.90 + bonus value of $1.64 - total value of $16.54 (6 full fares [$16.50] with 4 cents left over)
    7 fares $17.35 + bonus value of $1.91 - total value of $19.26 (7 full fares [$19.25] with 1 cent left over)
    ** 8 fares $20.00 + bonus value of $2.20 - total value of $22.20 (8 full fares [22.00] with 20 cents left over)
    * 9 fares $22.30 + bonus value of $1.45 - total value of $24.75 (9 full fares - nothing left over)
    10 fares $24.80 + bonus value of $2.73 - total value of $27.53 (10 full fares [$27.50] with 3 cents left over)
    */** 11 fares $27.25 + bonus value of $3.00 - total value of $30.25 (11 full fares with nothing left over)
    12 fares $29.75 + bonus value of $3.27 - total value of $33.02 (12 full fares [$33.00] with 2 cents left over)
    13 fares $32.25 + bonus value of $3.55 - total value of $35.80 (13 full fares [$35.75] with 5 cents left over
    14 fares $34.70 + bonus value of $3.82 - total value o f $38.52 (14 full fares [$38.50] with 2 cents left over
    15 fares $37.20 ++ bonus value of $4.09 - total value of $41.29 (15 full fares [$41.20] with 4 cents left over)
    16 fares $39.65 + bonus value of $4.36 - total value of $44.01 (16 full fares [44.00] with 1 cent left over)

    You'll notice that in the list above that in most cases there are "odd" amounts left over after all the full fares are used (1, 2, 3, 4 and 61 cents). If you want to can go to a subway booth and have them add (in real money) the specific amount needed to bring it to a full $2.75 fare. Remember - the left over amount is bonus money isn't costing you anything if it is not used. It would only cost the MTA that amount if you were to use it by adding enough to bring it to a full fare and then use that fare.

    As you can see, the MTA is not enriched at all. On their books the bonus value is only on paper until it actually gets used by the customer.

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  • gilabrand's Profile Photo

    Don't enrich the Metrocard people

    by gilabrand Updated Apr 12, 2015

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Don't pay more than you have to! With this little tip, you can save yourself a few pennies - but more importantly, you can keep the Metrocard people from enriching themselves at your expense.

    Instead of punching in the pre-programmed sums of money, manually punch in one of these sums: $17.35 (7 trips), $22.30 (9 trips), $32.20 (13 trips) or $39.65 (16 trips). This allows you to use the money on the card more fully, so the Metrocard people don't get to keep the change.

    When your Metrocard runs out, don't throw it away. According to the new regulations, you will have to pay $1 for a new one. The old one can be refilled over the course of a year. The cost per ride in NYC is now $2.75.

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  • Chinggis_n_Borte's Profile Photo

    7 day Metro Card

    by Chinggis_n_Borte Updated Jan 21, 2015

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Due to the fact that we would be in Manhattan for a week or so, we purchased a 7 day unlimited ride metro card (includes subway and buses) each. I believe it cost us $35 USD each, from memory, for full priced adults.

    We made good use of the card, using the subway extensively from one end of Manhattan to another, uptown, downtown, eastward and westward.

    We also walked extensively, as we enjoy walking, but to cover long distances very quickly, the subway is outstanding.

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  • elpolloviajero's Profile Photo

    Use the subway

    by elpolloviajero Written May 2, 2013

    Es muy recomendable utilizar el metro para moverse por la ciudad, es muy barato y muy facil de hacer. Le dan a uno una tarjeta donde "carga" dinero para realizar los viajes necesarios, en todos lados hay mapas de las lineas y son muy faciles de entender.

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  • jlanza29's Profile Photo

    Easy and the way to go !!!!

    by jlanza29 Written Jul 13, 2012

    NYC used to have day cards for visitor's but not anymore ... instead they have METROCARDS now ... they give a bonus of 10% if you deposit more than $10 ..... believe me you will use every penny of it ....... machines are available at every subway stop so don't worry about finding machines ... the subway one of the best in the world runs 24 hours a day ...... just be careful during the wee hours of the morning, the freaks come out, but mind your own business and you'll be fine .... this NYC .... no one bothers you ...... the train takes you to just about every imaginable spot around this great city !!!!!!!

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  • Peterodl's Profile Photo

    Buying Tickets

    by Peterodl Written Sep 12, 2008

    To buy tickets for the public transport i.e. the bus and subway, there are automated ticket machines in the subways and at the entrance to the Staten Island Ferry building.
    They are easy to use and easy to understand.

    ticket machine at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal
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  • elaine2u's Profile Photo

    The subways and the buses are...

    by elaine2u Updated Nov 9, 2007

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The subways and the buses are the best ways to go around NY but of course, when it's late in the evening or your lost.....the cab is the choice transpo. Buy a Metro Card and you're set to travel. There are 3 kinds of MetroCard (i researched this, of course to help you guys.). (i) Unlimited Ride - lets you ride all you want for one price. The more you ride, the less you pay. (There's the 7-day, 30-day or 30-day express bus plus metrocard). (ii) The Fun Pass - gives you a day of unlimited subway and local bus rides, then (iii) pay-per-ride metrocard. If you have more questions, call (212) Metrocard

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  • supercarys's Profile Photo

    Metro Card

    by supercarys Updated Apr 6, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    These tickets are fantastic. We stayed for 4 days and it turned out cheaper for us to buy a weekly than to buy a ticket for each time we used the subway. If you want a cheap good value option, the metro card is the way to go.

    They can also be used on the buses

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  • johnsakura's Profile Photo

    METROCARD

    by johnsakura Written Jun 29, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The best way to get around subway and buses is to buy or a one day fun-pass metrocard or a 7 day metrocard pass. this is the best as you can use the public transportation system as many times as you wish.

    The fare for a subway or local bus ride is $2. The fare for an express bus ride is $5. If you qualify for Reduced Fare, you can travel for half fare. Up to three children 44 inches tall and under ride for free when accompanied by a fare paying adult.

    1-Day Fun Pass
    Cost: $7, reduced fare not available
    Good for unlimited subway and local bus rides from first use until 3 a.m. the following day. Sold at MetroCard Vending Machines and at neighborhood stores. Not available at station booths.

    7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard
    Cost: $24, reduced fare $12
    Good for unlimited subway and local bus rides until midnight, 7 days from day of first use.

    30-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard
    Cost: $76, reduced fare $38
    Good for unlimited subway and local bus rides until midnight, 30 days from day of first use. This card is insured against loss when purchased at a vending machine with a credit or debit/ATM card.

    You can buy metrocards in subway stations booths, buses and street vans, subway metrocard machines.

    METROCARD

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  • Groentje's Profile Photo

    Metrocard

    by Groentje Written Sep 26, 2003

    The Subway system in New York is really fantastic! I heard it has improved a lot, but when we were there it was really splendid. They are very punctual, plenty, informative, ...
    An example: we went on the train to the South of Manhattan, and had to get off at (I think) Columbus Circle. Before we got off, the speaker inside the metro told us that we could get off at the next station and immediately take the train on the same platform going downtown :-)
    It might get expensive to buy one way tickets all the time (being 2 US$ per go). By far the best solution (if you're staying for a week), is to buy a seven-day card for unlimited rides; they can be bought in most subway stations and subway booths and cost 21US$. You can even go on the bus with them.
    Also, the metro is just one of NY's main attractions. I loved it!

    Get one of these!
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  • Pod's Profile Photo

    Metrocard.

    by Pod Updated Sep 12, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Buy a metrocard 1 day fun pass = $7 or a 7 day unlimited ride = $21 for unlimited number of subway and local bus rides.
    a single fare on the nyc transit is $2.00.
    thank-you kalimerahara for the up to date prices.

    Metrocard
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  • yumi53's Profile Photo

    ONE-DAY Metro Pass...

    by yumi53 Updated Sep 8, 2003

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    New York city is always $$$$$$, now their ONE-DAY Metro Card is raising to $7 usd, and a single trip to $2 usd. It depends on how long you're going to stay in Mahantan.:)
    Make sure which stop you're going to, and see clearly by those signs on the entrance of Metro before you get down stairs....Or you would walk a lot...:P

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  • FouFouGrrl's Profile Photo

    As distasteful as the truth may be...

    by FouFouGrrl Updated May 20, 2003

    The best way to get around the city is the subway. It may be dirty, rat infested and abound with questionable characters, but it is definitely the cheapest and fastest way to get from point A to point B.

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  • barryg23's Profile Photo

    Metro

    by barryg23 Updated May 16, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hmm, I guess it can't be avoided. I'm not a big fan of the subway, and I avoided it whenever possible, but sometimes it's the best choice. I have more than enough moan, moan stories about the subway to fill a book, but if you're visiting or living here, you'll no doubt have to use it at some stage.

    Subway at 125th Street

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