If you thought you could postpone the pain of the subway and bus fare hikes starting in January by stockpiling unlimited MetroCards at their current prices, the MTA knows what you're up to. To undermine your scheme, they're setting grace periods for each type of unlimited MetroCard, and when that grace expires, software at subway turnstiles and bus fareboxes will firmly reject you. Those dastardly Transit Authoritarians have thought of everything! Here's how it breaks down for MetroCards purchased before December 30th:

  • 1-day Fun Pass: expires Jan. 10
  • 7-day MetroCard: expires Jan. 16th
  • 7-day Express Bus Plus MetroCard: expires Jan. 16th
  • 14-day MetroCard: expires Jan. 23rd
  • 30-day MetroCard: expires Feb. 8th

And any unlimited card purchased before Dec. 30th must be activated with a swipe by Jan. 10th. Furthermore, the Fun Pass and biweekly MetroCards are being eradicated. The Daily News calculates that since the monthly unlimited was introduced back in 1998 at $63, the price has increased 65%. (In January, it goes up from $89 to $104.) According to the News's math, if you take 55 trips a month with a monthly pass, the cost average per trip will amount to $1.89 with the new price, a 16% savings over the base fare of $2.25 a trip. So you'll probably save in the long run if you can spend more up front—some of us will just need some seed money for the initial investment.