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Reduced Fare Round Trip Metro Card rules

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I am an out of town tourist.

I went to a booth at a Manhattan subway station, presented proof that I was age 65, and purchased, for $2.75, a reduced fare round trip Metro Card.  I did not use the card immediately at that subway station.  Later, on the same day, I attempted to use the card on a Manhattan bus and it was rejected as "invalid."  Before leaving town I checked the card balance at another subway station. The card showed a $2.75 balance, consistent with my payment to the agent in the subway station booth.

After returning to my hometown, I called the customer service number on the back of the card and asked why the card was rejected on the bus.

One customer service agent informed me that the rules require me to use the reduced fare round trip card, promptly after purchase, at the subway station where the card was purchased.  She then told me that it was wrong for me to purchase the card and "stack" it (whatever that means) or save it for use at another time.  She instructed me to mail the card to MTA in the hope that they would send me a replacement.

I asked the same question of another customer service agent.  This agent asked me to read to her the 10 digit number found on the back of the card, underneath the word "Expires."  She informed me that the 10 digit number that I read to her was not the proper number for a reduced fare card.  I assured her that I was in possession of a beige-colored,  reduced fare, round trip card.  She expressed surprise and recommended that I mail the card back to MTA and request a replacement.

The MTA web site does not address this issue.  What are the rules for the card?

1. May I use the card either on a subway or on a bus?

2. Must I use the card promptly after purchase, and only at the subway station where it is purchased?

3. May I purchase a card and save it so that it is immediately available to me during my next visit to the city?

4. Does a $2.75 reduced fare card work the same way as a standard Metro Card permitting me one bus ride plus transfer to a second bus within two hours or one subway ride plus transfer to a bus within 2 hours for each of my two journeys?

5. Are there any other secret rules regarding this card that I need to know?

6. May I use the card on my next visit to the city, or should I be extra cautious and mail the card to MTA and request a replacement card?

Thank you.




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It must be a software glitch. The MTA website does address this issue: 

"In the Subway: Show your authorized ID to a station agent and pay the full $2.75 fare, and you will be issued a Reduced-Fare, Round-Trip MetroCard. One trip will be deducted for each use ($1.35 per ride) and the $1.00 new card fee does not apply.

This 2-trip MetroCard will be accepted at all subway stations, local buses and Staten Island Railway. It cannot be refilled, is non-negotiable, non-transferable and non-redeemable."

It clearly says it's usable on local buses.


I would send it in with a complaint and a request for a new card or a refund.

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