I remember when the price of a one-way trip on the JFK AirTrain from Howard Beach or Jamaica Stations only cost $5. In November 2019 the price increased to $7.75, making it a bit more expensive for groups to get from the airport to the subway or LIRR.
In January 2022 the price rose again, but this time by only 25 cents, to an even $8 per ride.
But there’s been a way to save money on AirTrain rides and it gets more valuable every time the fare goes up.
The MTA sells a 10-ride JFK AirTrain card for $25.
The best thing is that you don’t need to use all 10 rides to save money. It’s on the 4th swipe that you’ll start saving and how much depends on how many times you use the card.
If you use all 10 rides, you’ll save an amazing $55, a 68% discount for each trip.
Of course, there are some restrictions that make it harder for everyone to take advantage of the offer:
- The card is only good for 30 days after the 1st swipe. It used to be good for 1 year but the time was cut at the same time as the fare increase in 2019.
- You can only swipe the card for 4 rides at the same station. After that, you’ll have to wait 18 minutes before using it again. This is a restriction placed on all Metrocards (except unlimited ride cards which only allow 1 swipe).
Sharon and I’d save only $7 because we would otherwise pay $32 for 4 swipes. However, it’s a huge discount for a family of 4 who’d otherwise be paying $64 for trips between the Subway or LIRR to the terminals on the AirTrain.
The 10-ride JFK AirTrain card is more for locals and airport employees, which is probably why the price stayed the same in 2019 while single rides went up $2.75 each. But that doesn’t mean that tourists can’t take advantage of the savings.
Important Things To Know
The 10-ride JFK AirTrain card is only sold at MetroCard Vending Machines in Howard Beach and Jamaica Air Train stations. I found this website showing how to buy the cards from the machine, and while it’s an older post (because they still list the single ticket as only $5), I’d imagine the menus haven’t changed much since then.
Also, remember that you’ll need to pay for a ride on the subway or LIRR once getting to Jamaica or Howard Beach stations. You can use a MetroCard but it might be easier to pay for those rides using the newer OMNY readers on the turnstiles.
I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know of this trick earlier, as we could have been saving money on all of our trips to JFK.
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