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How to Save the World (1 Swipe at a Time)

June 4, 2010

bike decorated with metro cardsI want to know if everyone has discovered the EasyPay XPress MetroCard in NYC and I’m just a little slow on the uptake or if I’m ahead of the curve on this truly genius thing.  Our MetroCards are made of polyester (fascinating look at their specs here ), and I always had a pang of guilt each time I threw away my expired monthly unlimited card.  That said, I saw the ads for the EasyPay cards, the MTA’s option for using the same card for 2 years and automatically refilling it from a credit or debit card, in the subway for months before investigating and then actually signing up for the program.

My motivation was twofold: One, I have a bus-subway transfer as part of my daily commute. So, on the days that I forgot to get a new card *before* coming home on the last day of my MetroCard, I’d sometimes have to pay $4.50 — and use $2.25 in laundry quarters just to get to the subway station. Two, those piles of bright yellow plastic-like cards falling out of the used card bins in the subway stations really bother me. (We couldn’t use a more sustainable material for something so disposal?)

The beautiful spring weather and light-filled mornings lately have inspired me to want to ride my bike to work. The office has even offered me an indoor parking spot so I don’t have to lug my giant lock and chain. But as I work up the motivation to embark on that, I’m pleased with every swipe of my card that it’s not going to get thrown out at the end of the month. Even better, when I do get on my bike to join the commuters across the Brooklyn Bridge each day (or the Manhattan Bridge, as the crowds and graffiti are more amenable), or if I go on vacation, I can change the card to a pay-as-you-go card and not lose value. *Also*, I can still easily use my flex spending account for this expense by using the online EasyPay account information or by sending in a strategically blacked out credit card statement showing the charge.

Here’s another incentive to check this option out: Did you know MTA riders lost $40 million in unused fares, among other things, in 2008?

And for diversion, here are some creative things to do with your used MetroCard at the end of its 2-year lifespan:

Happy commuting!

–By Briana

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