Saturday, March 21, 2009

Metrocards


Metrocards show up regularly on my plastic tally. I buy the Monthly Unlimited card, which is not refillable. Here's what I just sent the MTA:

I am trying to reduce my use of disposable plastic, and blog about it at http://www.plasticlessnyc.blogspot.com

Currently the Unlimited Monthly Metrocard is not refillable, resulting in me and many other New Yorkers throwing away a plastic Metrocard each month. I want to be able to refill it, and past that, recycle it. Will this ever be possible?

The EasyPay XPress Pay-per-ride option would allow me to refill a single Metrocard until it expires. But as a daily commuter, it would be significantly more expensive than my Unlimited Monthly card.

I would greatly appreciate any information you can provide on options the MTA is considering to make Metrocards more environmentally friendly. I would especially like to know why the monthly unlimited cards cannot be refilled.


If my pockets were deeper, I'd consider the refillable pay-per-ride option, but the cost difference really is significant. Here is some math:

Cost for a single ride: $2

Monthly Unlimited Card: $81/month
- used 2x/day for 30 days: $1.35/ride
- used 4x/day for 30 days: $0.68/ride
- used 2x/day for 26 days, 4x/day for 4 days: $1.19/ride

Pay-per-ride Card: 15% discount on purchases of $7 or more, $1.70/ride
- used 2x/day for 30 days: $102/month
- used 4x/day for 30 days: $204/month
- used 2x/day for 26 days, 4x/day for 4 days: $115.60/month

In order for a pay-per-ride card to cost $81, the price of an unlimited monthly, I'd have to only use it 2x/day for 24 days a month. But I'm a daily commuter. There are very few days I don't ride the subway, and many days when I make more than one round trip.

Am I willing to put my money where my morals are, to suck it up and pay at least $21 extra a month for a refillable card? I guess this is a case where my pockets are shallow, and so am I. :(

Here's hoping the MTA has some good news for me. There must be some cost-related reason for not making the unlimited cards refillable. I wonder what it is.

4 comments:

Dr. Engine said...

What about an EasyPayXpress Metrocard? That's automatically refillable and you can keep the same card for two years.

Juli said...

Well, the EasyPayXpress Metrocard is exactly the option I considered in my post, because you are correct- it automatically refills and you can keep it until the Metrocard expires. But you pay a lot more for the privelege. It is an option I can't afford.

Kinchi™ said...

Are you speaking of the 30-Day Unlimited EasyPayXpress Metrocard or the Pay-Per-Ride one?

If its the 30-Day, how does the math work out into you "pay[ing] a lot more for the privilege"?

...just curious?

Juli said...

@Kinchi: at the time I wrote this post, the 30 Day Unlimited Metrocard was not available with the EasyPayXpress program.

Now it IS available, and I have one! I'm very happy to no longer have to buy a new 30 Day Unlimited card every month-- because they weren't refillable and I had to throw them out. I did an updated post about it- if you search the tag "metrocard" you'll find it.