Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How to make the most of the NYC MTA fare hike

I guess I haven't been paying attention to the news, because I totally missed the word that the NYC MTA bus and subway fares went up this past Sunday until I curiously clicked on something on Facebook.

So it seems that once again, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has decided that the way to raise money is to raise prices. A single ride, which had been $2.50, is now $2.75 if you get a Metrocard and put more than $2.75 on it, and $3 if you buy just a single ride (and getting a new Metrocard will still cost an additional dollar). They have also pulled a sneaky little fast one. The "bonus" that you get for buying a bunch of rides at once on a Metrocard is now 11%. That is higher than it was before, but it's a weird number. When you put some round number of dollars onto your card, like $10 or $20, you are going to have an odd number of dollars and cents left over after you have used up all the $2.75 rides you can get out of it. Eventually, if you decide to discard the card, you will lose those odd pennies and dimes. And so long as you have that odd change left over, the MTA will have money for which, technically, they have not provided service.

Fortunately, our good friends at the Village Voice (that once-radical downtown newspaper that has followed all other Print Media into the Interwebs while leaving its print version mere shadow of its former self) has kindly done the math to figure out exactly how much money to put on your metrocard to wind up with zero cents left over after using up all your $2.75 rides:

Village Voice Rides-Per-Dollar chart

In short, $22.30, $27.75, and $49.55 are the magic numbers that will get you your full compliment of subway and bus rides without any money left over. You can take advantage of this by using the "Another Amount" button when you buy or refill your card at a MTA Metrocard machine.

If you want more info on this whole rate-increase thing, Here is the official MTA web page about the fare increase.
Here is the Transportation Nation web page that answers pretty much every question you could have about the fare increase.
And here is a Brooklyn-centric news site that happens to have a picture of the subway entrance I use every day.

You know, back in the late 1980's/early 1990's I used to go to the public hearing about fare increases and say a few words about how the job of the MTA is to help people enjoy the benefits of our rights. I kind of wish I had heard about this sooner and gone this time around.

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