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What’s the best MetroCard option for you?

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 14, 2003

In trying to determine which MetroCard has the best value for its holder, Grant has done some great analysis of the various options (PDF) for the New York City subways and buses. After reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, this reason for people not buying the 30-day unlimited card for $63 even though it’s the best value rings true:

For some folks, being in a position where they don’t have the full price of a 30-Day Unlimited MetroCard on them, and won’t until payday, is so common as to almost be a non-story, yet it is often rarely mentioned. Even when people know they should buy the unlimited card because the per-ride cost would be cheaper, they simply can’t. They don’t have the capital.

In the book, Ehrenreich observed many people who were living month-to-month in motels because they couldn’t afford the lump sum payment (1st & last month’s rent and security deposit) for an apartment even though it would have been much cheaper in the long run. Grant’s MetroCard analyses and suggestion of establishing a MetroCard fund — into which you put a couple of bucks a day for the purpose of purchasing a 30-day unlimted ride card each month — are excellent. I wonder…what’s the best way of getting this information into the hands of the people who need it most?