If you been to New York City in the past 30 years or so and have used public transportation, chances are you’ve used MetroCards, those yellow and blue swipe cards. Part NYC staple and part annoyance (Any other tourists ever deal with these? You swiped too fast. You swiped too slow. You can’t top your card off so it ends up “even” by the time you go home. And heaven forbid you have several cards that’ve expired – why the hell do they expire??? – and you want to combine them all into one new card), they’ve been around since the early 1990s. But now, it seems, they’re going away in favor of (gasp!) 21st century technology.
We visit New York regularly and when we do, we eventually end up taking the subway to get around town when it’s more convenient than getting an Uber or taxi, or walking. Because it’s not on my packing list, I’ll occasionally forget to bring our old MetroCards with us and after a while, I end up with a collection of cards that looks like this.
The MTA doesn’t it make it easy to end up with an empty MetroCard. First of all, the subway doesn’t accept contactless payments like other cities such as Chicago do, so you’re forced to buy a card. The fare machines are set to offer you a set amount when purchasing a card, like $10. However, the subway fare is $2.75 per ride. It doesn’t take a genius to find out those amounts aren’t evenly divisible so if you don’t know better, you’re going to have a leftover balance on your card.
Just to make the math harder, the MTA adds a bonus when you reload your card for more than $5.50.
Put $5.50 or more on your card and receive a 5 percent bonus. For example, a $20 purchase gives you $21.00 on your card. Refill your card to use the balance.
As usual, we decided not to rent a car while staying in Manhattan. For us, this is an easy decision to make, as rental cars are expensive, parking is even more expensive and you have many options to get around town.
Just as a reminder, this post is part of our trip report on our trip to see Hamilton.
- How will we get to New York? Oh, hello companion ticket!
- How we choose what hotels to stay at in Times Square (and why did we end up staying somewhere way more expensive than what we would usually pay).
- Hotel Review: The Towers of the Waldorf=Astoria New York
- To Uber, Taxi or Subway? That is the question.
- Why we had never been to Harlem before and what we did when we went there.
- How I earned more Delta miles for dinner and hotel than I did for my flights.
- Why I think everyone needs to see Sleep No More at least once.