After much confusion and a little griping, fare hike day is finally here! Here are the basics you need to know: the MTA's base fare is now $2.50, a 30-day unlimited MetroCard will now cost $112, magical new Metrocards allow you to put both unlimited and pay-per-ride amounts on the same card, and a $1 fee will be charged for each new MetroCard you buy. But there are still a lot of other details worth looking over. To try to ease some of the confusion, we've been answering your fare hike questions. Below, check out some more!
"I feel like I understand the hikes pretty well, except I keep seeing information that the unlimited Metrocard will deactivate unless you use it by March 11th—but what happens to our money if we bought it without the intention of using it before that date?" If you don't activate a Metrocard before March 11th, you can submit it for a refund or any amount prorated after you activate post-March 11th. Unlimited MetroCards purchased on or before March 2nd must be activated by Monday, March 11th to obtain their full value. Those activated after that date will allow travel through April 9th for 30-day cards and March 17th for 7-day cards.
"I buy an unlimited express bus Metrocard that has 10 trips on it (I believe). It costs $51.40. How much will the express bus Metrocard go up to?" A 7-day express bus plus MetroCard will cost $55 (up from $50). Some more unlimited info: the 7-day unlimited Metrocard will cost you $30 (up from $29). And as we mentioned up above, a 30-day unlimited MetroCard will now cost $112 (up from $104).
"I purchase one 30-day unlimited card every month participating in my company's TRIP program. Because of vacations and everything, I have two monthly cards now. I just activated one which will last me till March 26th-ish. On March 27th, will my second never used monthly card still be usable for reduced # of days?" The second unlimited Metrocard will still be good until April 9th (weekly ones will expire on March 17th). The MTA tells us you can get a prorated refund for the rest.
"I have three expired Unlimited Metrocards. I bought them over a year ago, and never activated them (I had to cash in the balance on a Transit Benefits Card). Under the normal MTA policy, I can mail them in for a replacement. I can't find any guidelines on what will happen now. That's why we're here! You can still submit for a refund just as you were doing before—the fare hike won't affect that policy.
Here's something else to keep in mind for everyone wondering how many rides you need to take to make the unlimited worthwhile: you must ride the subway 13 times (two rides per workday and three on the weekend) to make a 7-day MetroCard worthwhile, and you must ride the subway 48 times (two rides per workday and eight on the weekend) to make a 30-day unlimited MetroCard worthwhile.
And if you get a card with zero balance and put $50 on it, you'll get a $2.50 bonus, making the card good for exactly 21 rides.
"I am a senior over the age of 65. Since I seldom need transportation and many times only one way, I paid $1.10 cash each way on busses. Will they continue to accept cash and if so what is the increase?" The senior fare is half of the base fare. There's more info about senior rates here. The MTA adds that if you use a Reduced Fare MetroCard, your trip is easier than those paying cash simply because the card will deduct fare automatically, and you don't have to worry about exact change. But as ever, cash (coins only) are still accepted on buses.