$19.05 Is the Perfect Amount to Load on a MetroCard so You Won’t Have Leftover Change

March 5, 2015

If you don’t get an unlimited weekly or monthly MetroCard, you probably put random amounts on your card each time, or you might select one of the MTA’s payment prompts–a $9.00 MetroCard with a $.45 bonus, a $19.00 card with a $.95 bonus, or a $39.00 card with a $1.95 bonus. If you fall into one of these two camps, you’re likely always left with a useless amount of change on the card that will never add up to the $2.50 it costs for a single train ride. All of that leftover change going unused on thousands of MetroCards each day is being collected by the MTA, in what seems like a purposeful tactic. But now, thanks to statistician Ben Wellington, we have the solution to one of NYC life’s biggest dilemmas–$19.05 is the is the perfect amount to load on your MetroCard so that you’ll get eight subway rides without a penny left over.

Subway Fare Math, Ben Wellington, MetroCard
Chart based on the current fares (L) and future fares (R), via I Quant NY

In addition to $19.05 for eight rides, $11.90 will get you a perfect five rides and $30.95 will get you 13 rides. Wellington’s also figured out all amounts under $40, taking into account the MTA’s five percent bonus, where you’ll only have a few pennies to spare. Of course, this will all change when the MTA hikes up its fares in just a couple of short weeks, when one ride will be $2.75 and the bonus will be 11 percent. But Wellington has that covered. On his site I Quant NY, he writes, “The MTA might leave things as is, with $9, $19 and $39 preset buttons. If they go that route, it’s time to start memorizing a new set of numbers again New York! And the magic number seems to be $22.30. Just use the ‘Other Amounts’ button, type in $22.30 and you get $24.75 on your card…exactly nine trips.”

[Via Business Insider]


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