When you are in New York for a short period of time, and riding the train is part of your daily commute, it may be a good idea to get yourself the unlimited rides using MetroCard on fixed amount of days.

  • 30-day pass – $116.50
  • 7-day pass – $31

This means the more frequent you travel, the more savings you get.

  • for 13 trips = $2.38/ride
  • for 20 trips = $1.55/ride
  • for 25 trips = $1.24/ride

Each single journey trip costs $2.75 per ride when you purchase multiple rides. Otherwise it costs $3 per ride. That means you get 11% extra for every purchase of ticket worth $5.5. So a $5.5 purchase gives you $6.10 MetroCard value. Note that this is also applicable for subway-bus and bus-bus transfers within 2 hours.

But if you think you won’t take the subway as often as described above, then you could still spend less on single rides.

Where to Buy MetroCard
MetroCards can be bought at vending machines inside subway vending machines, MetroCard bus and vans, subway station booths and retail merchants around New York City.

Subway vending machines
Vending machines come in two sizes. Larger ones accept cash, credit cards, ATM/debit cards while the smaller ones only accept credit cards and ATM/debit cards

  • MetroCard from $5.50 to $80
  • 7-Day or 30-Day Unlimited Pass
  • 7-Day Express Bus Plus MetroCard
  • $3 SingleRide tickets available on large machines using cash only

Note that $1 applies when you purchase a new MetroCard but does not apply on adding value to your MetroCard.

MetroCard bus and vans
The MetroCard bus and van serve as a mobile MetroCard retailer which makes regular stops at major bus routes, senior citizen centers and shopping centers. You can buy a new MetroCard or add value to your existing card on this vehicle.

Subway booths

  • Agents sell all cards
  • Cash only
  • $50 bills accepted on purchases of $30 or more.
  • $100 bills accepted on purchases of $70 or more.
  • New Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard minimum purchase is $5.50; $80 maximum purchase.
  • $1 fee applies to each new MetroCard purchase. Fee does not apply to card refills or Reduced-Fare MetroCards.

Retail merchants
You may enter your location on this form http://tripplanner.mta.info/metrocardmerchants/ to check which shops sell MetroCard nearby.


How to Use MetroCard on the subway
New Yorkers may be unwilling or unable to help guide you how to use the MetroCard on a rush hour so learning it before arriving in New York helps a lot.

Here’s a demo: