Riders Leave Money on MetroCards

The MetroCard has become a popular way to use New York City’s transit services; in fact, for most riders, it’s the only practical way to ride subways and buses.  Riders pay in advance to load cards with money, then use it up as they make trips.   But what happens to money that is still on cards that are lost or expire?  New York City Transit gets to keep it, and it’s counted as fare revenue; in 2012, the revenue from expiring cards reached a peak of $95 million, according to reporting by Sam Roberts in The New York Times (January 17).  MetroCards typically expire about two years from purchase; after that time, they cannot be redeemed or the amount transferred to new cards.  The amount recorded in 2012 was unusually large because many riders purchased cards before a 2010 fare increase.  Once the cards expire, do they have sentimental value?  Not much, apparently: according to the article a lot of 100 used, expired, “worthless” cards can be bought on eBay for $13.75.

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