PSA: Use or lose those unlimited MetroCards before March 29

Probably a better option once your monthly runs out.

Probably a better option once your monthly runs out.

As the ugly MTA fare hike looms over us, we at Brokelyn have been looking through our couch cushions in desperate search of the monthly MetroCards we’ve been holding on to for when we get a “real” job that forces us to use the best/worst subway system in the world. Why? Because that obscenely-expensive $112 30-day card we bought after the last fare hike is going to be worth less than the Weimar Papiermark come March 29th.

The fares are going up starting this Sunday, March 22nd across the board. But the MTA aren’t total cruel heartless bastards: anyone with a 7-day or a 30-day card gets a seven-day grace period to activate their golden ticket. Seven-day cards will be good through April 4th (exactly seven days after the March 29 deadline) and 30-day cards will be good until April 27th (you guessed it, exactly 30 days after the deadline). After that, you’re on the new fare schedule like the rest of us pay-per-ride proles.

Still have two cards to swipe by the end of the month? Well, Rockefeller, you’re going to have to return the extra card to the MTA for a full refund…by mail, of course. You can either pay for the stamp or get a postage-paid envelope from your local station booth agent who will no doubt be ecstatic to help you. Just make sure you budget the six-to-twelve hours of phone time required to follow up on your refund. Conversely, you could find a trustworthy friend to sell your extra card to. Just don’t tell the IRS because it’s technically tax fraud if you bought it with pre-tax money through something like TransitChek. (Naturally, we don’t condone any kind of illegal activities that result in less than $500 profit).

Oh, and we did the math — it doesn’t make sense to buy a $112 30-day card before your current one runs out, because if you let the two cards overlap by even one day you’ll come out a dollar or more in the hole (assuming 2 rides per day). But if you don’t have any unlimited card at the moment, it makes complete sense to buy one right now and activate it by the 29th. You’ll only need to ride 41 times in 30 days under the new fares to make it worthwhile.

The whole convoluted fare structure — and tips to navigate the bizarre bonus system — can be seen in this dense PDF we got from the MTA. While you’re reading that, we’ll be finding reasons to ride the subway just to get some worth out of this damn albatross around our neck 30-day unlimited.