Archive for the tag 'metrocards'

Source: Brendan Ross / Flickr

Source: Brendan Ross / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: This past week the MTA unveiled a series of progressive initiatives, including additional restorations of service that were cut in June 2010. Prior to those service reductions, the media paid little attention to them. The headlines mainly revolved around the MTA’s plan to cut student fares. It wasn’t until years later, when the impacts were fully felt, that public outcry began and service restorations were made. The first round included the return of the truncated portions of the B4 and B64 — which were not replaced by other routes — earlier this year.

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A vintage Brooklyn bus map. Source: Enframe Photography

THE COMMUTE: There are two schools of thought on this. One is that changes should be made incrementally as the need arises. That is known as ad-hoc planning. The other is that changes should be made using a comprehensive approach by periodically studying all the routes for deficiencies, for example, once every 10 years, by performing origin-destination surveys and using other data.

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Source: Weinstein’s office

The following is a press release received yesterday from the offices of Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein:

For years now, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein has been bringing MTA personnel and the MTA reduced-fare program to her District office at 3520 Nostrand Avenue on the 3rd Thursday of every month. During today’s visit, although MTA staff was on hand to process new and lost/damaged card applications, the reduced-fare program van broke down and those who came to refill cards or check balance were unable to do so.

In order to accommodate people who were inconvenienced, the MTA has arranged for the van to park in front of the Assemblywoman’s district office this Sunday, the 21st of April, from 11am to 2pm. In addition to being able to refill and check balances, those who missed today’s visit will also be able to file new card applications and register their cards lost or damaged.

For more info please call the Assemblywoman’s office at (718) 648-4700.

Be prepared to start adding more money to your MetroCard. Source:

THE COMMUTE: Subway, bus, and railroad fares, as well as tolls for bridges and tunnels operated by the MTA, are all higher. The new subway and bus fare went into effect yesterday while the higher railroad fare took effect on Friday.

The new fare and toll prices can be found on links from the MTA’s home page. The base subway and bus fare is now $2.50 for a one way trip. Weekly and monthly unlimited passes are also higher. Are these higher fares and tolls fair? No. Were they necessary? You will have to decide that for yourself.

As mayoral candidate John Liu stated at the recent mayoral debate on transit issues, transit needs an ongoing revenue stream. As candidate Bill Thompson stated, we need to fund transit fairly, it needs to be more affordable and existing dollars need to be spent correctly. And as candidate Tom Allon stated, we need to think of more creative financing.

I couldn’t agree more with those statements.

In a previous article, I also asked the question: What’s A Fair Fare? I highlighted the need for a time-based fare rather than one that is vehicle-based and the need for free transfers between local, limited Select Buses, whereby those transfers do not preclude you from receiving a second transfer to another local, express bus or subway. The MTA must also re-institute its longstanding policy that service changes will not result in the necessity of extra fares.

We cannot continue to raise fares and tolls every two years or more frequently — it is not a long-term solution, especially when New Yorkers already pay for a higher portion of transit costs through the fare than any other major city. Sooner or later our elected officials will have to recognize that. I really have nothing more to say on the subject.

If you want to read more about what this new fare hike means to you, I suggest you read Ben Kabak’s article on Second Avenue Sagas.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

All photos by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: The DOT gets an ‘Incomplete.’

Reason One: As of January 10, the Ocean Avenue Footbridge still has not reopened, although the scheduled completion date for repairs was the end of 2012.

Reason Two: Although new bus stops and signage for the restored B4 were in place by January 6, the first date of operation, the old signs for bus stops formerly located on Avenue Z between Ocean Parkway and East 14th Street were still not removed as of January 10.

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Click to enlarge. Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Most New Yorkers do not notice the sign in the station booths explaining the fare, except perhaps to check the price of a seven- or 30-day pass. However, to a tourist, it is essential that this sign be clear and self-explanatory. They were clear until the MTA discontinued MetroCards for a one-way subway trip and replaced them with “SingleRide Tickets,” available only at MetroCard vending machines, costing an additional 25 cents at the time of the last fare increase.

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Source: EyOne via Wikimedia Commons

The MTA announced yesterday that straphangers whose MetroCards are lost or stolen can now file their claims online, further embracing the wonders and conveniences of the 1999.

Until now, if you lost your MetroCard somehow, you were stuck calling 511 and dealing with a combination of pre-recorded voices and wait times, a frustrating cocktail in the age where cell phones are liable to drop their service at any moment. In addition to dealing with 511, you can now log onto the MTA’s eFix website and carefully file your claim at your own convenience.

Remember, the claim process is for customers who bought 30-day unlimited rides, or the 7-day Express Bus Plus cards with a credit or debit card. If your claim is successful, the MTA refunds you the remaining balance of time from when you lost the card.

The MetroCard eFix website was launched in June 2011, and has expanded its service in functionality progressively. According to the MTA press release:

On average, MTA staff are able to rectify requests within six days for claims accepted via eFix.  From January through November of this year, the MTA has received 9,831 claims related to malfunctioning MetroCards or machines via the eFix website, which works out to 894 claims per month.

Currently, the MTA eFix website handles the following types of problems,

  • Lost Or Stolen Reduced Fare MetroCard
  • Select Bus Service MetroCard Fare Collector
  • MetroCard Not Returned From Bus Farebox
  • MetroCard Vending Machine Problem
  • Transfer Problem
  • Overcharged
  • Balance Protection Claim

UPDATE (5:30 p.m.): The original link in this article brought you was incorrect, and was instead to make a claim for lost or stolen reduced fare cards, as opposed to unlimited passes. We apologize for the confusion.

Source: paulmmay / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: Most likely $2.50.

But the real question is: What will happen to the bonuses and unlimited passes? Those discounts have been decreasing with each fare increase and the MTA is now proposing to eliminate the modest seven percent bonus when paying for at least $10 in rides. Also, last time the MTA tried to cap the unlimited passes but, instead, chose to steeply increase their cost, making them less useful for some.

Several months ago, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota postponed the next fare from January to March 2013 because the MTA’s finances were in better shape than previously thought. So it came quite as a surprise when he announced on September 12 that eliminating the bonuses or discounts should be considered because the MTA only receives $1.63 for each $2.25 trip made.

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Just like this series, the above Boynton Bicycle, at its terminus of Avenue X and Ocean Parkway, has hit the end of the line. (Source:

THE COMMUTE: So far we discussed the railroads and elevated lines that preceded and later became part of the subway system, the original three subway divisions – IRT, BMT and IND, the last two being merged with the opening of the Chrystie Street connection in 1967 – the Dual Contracts, the decline of the elevated system as a separate transportation mode, the risedecline and renaissance of the subways, and, finally, a little about subway comfort and subway nomenclature and how florescent lighting brightened the system.

In this final part we ask some crucial questions relating to the future of the subway system, mention subjects we did not discuss, and provide sources for additional information.

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A Budd R-11 car stops at Grand Street on the Chrystie Street connection on November 18, 1967, a week before service was to begin. Source: David Pirmann collection /

THE COMMUTE: In Part 4 of my “A Brief History Of The Subway System” series (Part 1Part 2Part 3), we discussed the decline of the subways and its renaissance. Today we discuss the merger of the BMT and IND, the history of subway nomenclature and the dawn of florescent lighting.

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