The MTA is getting in the sweepstakes game: Beginning today, anyone who buys a MetroCard from a select few stations in Manhattan or Brooklyn will be eligible for an all-expense-paid vacation to Hawaii. (limited time only, no purchase necessary, must be 18 or older, stand clear of the closing doors please, terms and conditions may apply.)

The subway giveaway—the first of its kind, as far as we can tell—is part of a promotion from the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau. As part of their larger campaign to lure New Yorkers to their tropical paradise, the tourism board is paying the MTA to dispense 250,000 Hawaii-branded MetroCards to riders over the next week. Those cards can then be registered online, with a single winner to be selected next month. Your odds of getting killed by a meteorite are about as good.

The MetroCards can be found at eight participating stations, seven of which are in Manhattan: 72nd Street-Amsterdam Avenue; 86th Street-Lexington Avenue; 59th Street-Columbus Circle; 23rd Street-Eighth Avenue; 14th Street-Union Square; Broadway-Lafayette; Fulton Street; and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center.

"The MTA brings New Yorkers to the places they want to go," said Jay Talwar, chief content officer at HVCB and a man who probably surfs to work. "Our goal is to remind New Yorkers that they can maintain this mindset when planning a vacation in the Islands of Hawaii."

The press release goes on to note that "this marks the first time a New York MetroCard can be used for entry into a giveaway." A spokesperson for the MTA initially disputed this, telling Gothamist that "advertisers have done things like this before." But he would not provide examples (nor would he disclose how much the MTA was being paid for the promotion). And while it's true that New Yorkers are no stranger to sponsored MetroCards, this sort of trip lottery does seem like new ground for the transit authority.

In the spirit of of this fun new addition to our public transit experience, we thought we might offer the MTA a few contest suggestions of our own for improving the struggling subway system:

  • Free CDs handed out by conductors when you get on the train. Psyche! They're not free at all.
  • All expense paid trip to the MTA-funded ski mountain upstate if you sit through a brief timeshare presentation.
  • Get paid to work from home and relieve crowding on the L train!!
  • Golden Ticket contest. Winner gets to peel off pieces of a subway tunnel with Governor Cuomo.

Anyway, these are only some of our ideas. The drawing to select the Hawaii-vacation lottery winner will take place on or about Wednesday, May 8th. Good luck.