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The MTA's $1 MetroCard 'green' fee is producing unexpected revenue for the transit agency

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Every time a rider in the New York City transit system gets a new MetroCard, a $1 fee is imposed.

 

Thanks, suckers!

 

The MTA is raking in more dough than expected with its controversial $1 MetroCard “green” fee — and that could put more pressure on transit officials to make system improvements or restore service that was cut three years ago.

 

The surcharge, tacked on when someone buys a new MetroCard, went into effect in March with the latest round of fare hikes. The goal, transit officials said, was to encourage riders to refill and keep using their existing MetroCards.

 

It’s simple enough. Recycle and save a buck. And it’s good for the environment. But old habits die hard.

In the first month after the fee went into effect, more riders than transit officials predicted continued to buy new MetroCards — and paid the extra $1, a transit executive said last week.

 

If the trend continues, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will exceed the $20 million in new revenues and savings that it anticipated when drafting the budget, the executive said.

 

“I’m surprised,” Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said. “Anecdotally, in my many subway rides, I have seen fewer MetroCards littering the ground in subway stations. But apparently many riders are not reusing.”

 

Even before this potential green-fee bounty, some MTA board members, most notably Allen Cappelli and Mitch Pally, had been pushing transit executives to establish a fund for service restorations or enhancements. They made their latest push after Gov. Cuomo announced the MTA would receive about $40 million more from transit-dedicated taxes — collected by the state and then given to the MTA — because the economy was doing better than forecast.

 

An MTA spokesman wouldn’t say how much more money it has raked in so far from the green fee.

 

On average, the authority prints and encodes 160 million cards a year at a cost of about $9.5 million. That’s a lot of plastic to be swept up and buried forever in landfills.

 

The MTA had said the surcharge was expected to generate an estimated $18 million in revenue this year. Printing fewer MetroCards and trimming cleanup costs would save an additional $2 million or so.

 

“I think it works,” Raven McClain, 22, a college student from Brooklyn, said. “Before everybody was leaving their cards around, but now everybody wants to save that extra dollar . . . and it cuts down on plastic in landfills, which is a huge problem.”


Read more: NyDailyNews

 

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Once NY realizes you CAN refill cards, the MTA will not be getting this money anymore.

Good luck with that. The machines make it such a pain in the ass to refill half the time.

 

I really have no comment other than those who chose to accept the Metrocard fee will continue to buy new ones. Can't break old habits.

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Good luck with that. The machines make it such a pain in the ass to refill half the time.

 

I really have no comment other than those who chose to accept the Metrocard fee will continue to buy new ones. Can't break old habits.

I find it quite easy, except when the entire station's MetroCard vending machines refuse to accept one form of payment. Fix that and it's not a problem otherwise. Hell… raise the green fee to $2.00. The $1.00 green fee is obviously not discouraging waste. And then, spend that extra $1.00 charged to fund studies on a biodegradable payment method.
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Good luck with that. The machines make it such a pain in the ass to refill half the time.

 

 

What's the pain?  Only takes a few seconds longer to refill one as opposed to getting a new one.

 

I find it quite easy, except when the entire station's MetroCard vending machines refuse to accept one form of payment. Fix that and it's not a problem otherwise.

 

If the machines aren't accepting a form of payment it's going to effect both refilling old cards and buying new ones.

 

Does anyone know if you are going to be charged a $1 to transfer the balance from an old card to a new one?

Edited by Truckie
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Once again...there is NO FEE for refills, exchanges of expiring or damaged cards, reduced fare customers, or cards purchased at grocery stores and newsstands.

 

I wonder how many people are taking advantage of that last option.

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Once again...there is NO FEE for refills, exchanges of expiring or damaged cards, reduced fare customers, or cards purchased at grocery stores and newsstands.

 

I wonder how many people are taking advantage of that last option.

They don't sell unlimited cards there, do they?

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Does anyone know if you are going to be charged a $1 to transfer the balance from an old card to a new one?

 

As I understand it, you won't be charged if the card is soon expiring. Just go to a station clerk to get the swap.

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Good luck with that. The machines make it such a pain in the ass to refill half the time.

 

I really have no comment other than those who chose to accept the Metrocard fee will continue to buy new ones. Can't break old habits.

I don't find refilling w/ the MVM's to be a PITA at all..... < 30 seconds & I'm out of there....

 

Only gripe that comes to mind regarding MVM's (aside from w/e malfunctioned ones I may come across) is the fact they still dispense those dollar coins....

 

.....Hell… raise the green fee to $2.00. The $1.00 green fee is obviously not discouraging waste. And then, spend that extra $1.00 charged to fund studies on a biodegradable payment method.

For all I care, they can raise it a hamiton ($10)..... Let's see who's gonna want to blow that amount of money for something like a new MC, instead of refilling the one they already have....

 

Does anyone know if you are going to be charged a $1 to transfer the balance from an old card to a new one?

Nope, you won't be charged.....

 

As I understand it, you won't be charged if the card is soon expiring. Just go to a station clerk to get the swap.

You're correct.... and on top of it (although you could), you don't even have to go to the S/A.... An MVM will let you know when an old card is about to expire & prompt you if you want a new card.... If you choose yes or w/e, the amount on the old card will automatically be added to the amount of the new card.....

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They don't sell unlimited cards there, do they?

Depends on the store. They have the ability to sell these cards, but not every store chooses to sell all of these types.

 

$5, $9.52, $19.05, $38.10, $57.14, 7 Day, 30 Day, 7 Day Express, $5 AirTrain, $25 AirTrain 10 trip, $40 AirTrain 30 Day

 

I don't mind the surcharge, but there's one problem: Commuter rail-issued nondurable paper cards still have the $1 fee.

Edited by Amtrak7

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This is great to hear, in a perfect world this would generate enough revenue to stop any future fare hikes but I doubt it.

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Once again...there is NO FEE for refills, exchanges of expiring or damaged cards, reduced fare customers, or cards purchased at grocery stores and newsstands.

 

I wonder how many people are taking advantage of that last option.

 

 

Depends on the store. They have the ability to sell these cards, but not every store chooses to sell all of these types.

 

$5, $9.52, $19.05, $38.10, $57.14, 7 Day, 30 Day, 7 Day Express, $5 AirTrain, $25 AirTrain 10 trip, $40 AirTrain 30 Day

 

I don't mind the surcharge, but there's one problem: Commuter rail-issued nondurable paper cards still have the $1 fee.

There's a catch to getting them at the store.  #1, 9 times out of 10, when you need a particular card, the store is out.  #2, you can only pay with cash which means that if you lose the card, you're S.O.L. because they will not replace lost MetroCards that are paid for with cash.  For me I refill my card so there's usually $110.00 worth of rides on the card (in other words two Unlimited 7 Day Express Bus Plus payments on one MetroCard).  The thing is I don't have much confidence in reusing those cards with such large amounts of time on them for months and months because if they fail, then I've got to go through the process of waiting to have a new one resent to me from the (MTA), and then put out more monies to cover that card while I wait for the new one which sometimes can take MONTHS, so I do get a new card roughly every few months when I feel like the card is wearing out.  

 

The $1.00 paid is an "investment" IMO because I avoid having to spend an additional $110.00 or more while I wait for a new card to be reissued.  I still don't understand why they can't issue new ones on the spot for unlimited cards.  You should be able to show your receipt which would show when the card was refilled or bought and they should be able to see right there how much time the card has.  They obviously have a way to figure this out because they eventually send you a pro-rated card in the mail so why can't the token booth clerks have access to the same information?  If they did that, then I wouldn't worry as much about getting a new card because I know I could just go to a token booth clerk and get a new one right away if a problem arises and if I couldn't, I wouldn't mind using a back up until the following day if say this was late at night and I couldn't get a token booth clerk.

 

I just look at it from a cost perspective... These guys already have $110.00 of my money which they are making interest off of and now I'm going to give them another $110.00 while I wait for the other card.  It's a pretty nice deal for them and I'm the one losing out.  I haven't had a problem in a while but when I have had reading problems to the point to where the B/O has to waive me on, I'll just report the card as lost, this way I only lose maybe a day's worth of rides and I get refunded in a few days.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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I don't find refilling w/ the MVM's to be a PITA at all..... < 30 seconds & I'm out of there....

 

Unless you run into one of the machines with a screen that is literally unusable, Lefferts Blvd's machines are like that...

 

Though I agree, it's no that much of a PITA to refill the cards at the machines.

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Unless you run into one of the machines with a screen that is literally unusable, Lefferts Blvd's machines are like that...

 

Though I agree, it's no that much of a PITA to refill the cards at the machines.

The ones at Grand Central in select locations and Columbus Circle can be a PITA as well...

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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I don't mind refilling my card at all. The only trouble I ever have doing it is when the machine takes your money and doesn't put value on your card, then I have to go to the booth and get a new one. Oh, and of course the times the machines take cards or cash only (not both).

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I don't find refilling w/ the MVM's to be a PITA at all..... < 30 seconds & I'm out of there....

 

 

Same here. I can do it really quickly.

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I've seen a whole lot of tourists buying new cards constantly, and a lot of them will buy an individual card for each family member, then throw them out after their week trip is over. I suspect a lot of the money is coming from that, 

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I've seen a whole lot of tourists buying new cards constantly, and a lot of them will buy an individual card for each family member, then throw them out after their week trip is over. I suspect a lot of the money is coming from that, 

Possible.... and to add to that, it (the fee) could be a way to extract money from unsuspecting tourists....

(I) Didn't think twice to look at it from that vantage point.....

Edited by B35 via Church

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Possible.... and to add to that, it (the fee) could be a way to extract money from unsuspecting tourists....

(I) Didn't think twice to look at it from that vantage point.....

 

Yup, it is a hidden fee in that way. Not that I'm against having tourists put more money into our system, but it is fairly sneaky. 

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Yup, it is a hidden fee in that way. Not that I'm against having tourists put more money into our system, but it is fairly sneaky. 

I don't think so at all.  Many of them are cheapskates anyway, especially the Europeans so I say milk them anyway you can.  They're obnoxious, always blocking the way and staring at everything as if our way of life is SOOOO strange or inferior to how they live  <_<.  Makes me sick.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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I don't have a problem with refilling my card- it only takes a few seconds to put $5 bucks on there.

 

But let them rake in the bucks. However... I don't want to see them crying broke after all is said and done!

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My MetroCards just randomly stop working even beforethe expire date when I refill them. It's not that I throw them away, and what's with an additional $6 when I get a new card I thought it would be $1 and whatever amount you want to put in the card?

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When tons of cards were thrown away before the surcharge, it was estimated that the MTA pocketed millions of dollars in small change left on the cards which I believe amounted to something like 10 or 20 million dollars a year.  With fewer cards thrown away that amount has to have been greatly reduced.

 

Do you think the MTA remembered to subtract that amount from the gross revenue they are receiving from the dollar surcharge before publishing the amount of "unexpected" revenue received or are they now overestimating the new revenue? 

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