Metrocard FAQ
This set of frequently asked questions answers almost everything you'd want to know about the MetroCard.
1. If this list hasn't answerd everything
What are the different kinds of MetroCards?
How do I check the balance on a regular MetroCard?
How do I check the balance on a non-regular MetroCard?
Can I buy a MetroCard on-line?
What Do I Do With Expired or Lost MetroCards?
Who do I contact if somthing does go wrong?
What does an MVM do that a station agent doesn't?
Will the MVMs replace the Station Agents(Token Clerks)?
How can a transaction on a MVM Fail?
1. If this list hasn't answered everything:
Then e-mail me at and ask your question. If you do, not only will you get your answer, so will someone else in the future.
2. What are all the different kinds of MetroCards?
Chances are, more than you think. I've counted a few that I know of; the following is a list.
Standard circulation cards (all standard gold design): Pay-per ride
This is the standard card. It is capable of supporting unlimited rides, except that the refill computers won't let you do that. Each use will deduct $1.50 for local bus service, the subway and $3 for the express bus except when transferring; read transfer rules for more information. Purchases and refills more than $15 give a 10% bonus. Card value may not exceed $100 in value.
1-day unlimited (Fun Pass)
Part of the unlimited family of cards, expiration date is set with first use, card expires at 2:59 AM following the end of the day of first use. No use allowed on express buses. See unlimited rules for more information.
7-day unlimited
Allows 7 days of use from first time, expires at midnight
30-day unlimited
See above, except for 30 days.
30-day Express Bus Plus
Allows use on the express buses.
Paper MetroCards (all pay-per-ride)
Issued by some HSBC (formally Republic) ATMs,  Similar to pay per ride above.
There are also 2 other different types of Paper Metrocards:
Only MVMs dispence these, will allow one use, not on express bus within 2 hours, 18 minutes of purchase. Does not allow transfers and is captured like a transfer by bus fareboxes. Are white, with green MetroCard name and MTA logo, smaller than usual. This is the "special" design.
Bus Transfers
If you pay with change on a MTA bus you can ask for a transfer. Looks like the SingleRide cards but the bus transfers are only good for bus to bus transfer and are not good on the subway.
Senior Citizen/Disabled:
The cards are all similar, these do not conform to the blue/green style of regular cards, they use the special design and are brown colored, the rear includes personal information along with the picture and includes colors as follows:
Elderly Male - Green
Elderly Female - Yellow
Disabled Male - Blue
Disabled Female - Purple
These cards deduct 75 cents at all times, and $1.50 for express buses off-peak. These also allow unlimited rides on the same card! See supercard for more information.
Student Metrocards come in different color depending on what grade the student is in. They are only issued to students that live a mile away from their school. The cards come in two types: Full fare, where the student pays nothing, and half fare, the card pays 75 cents and the student pays the other 75 cents. Half fare cards only work on local buses. Full and Half fare card are issued according to where the student lives. Different grades have different colors, they are:
Free 3 Green
Free 4 Green
Free 3 Orange
Free 4 Orange
Half-Fare Green
Class Trip Green
The front is white with gold letters MetroCard. The back has the employee's photo. Blue for female, red for male. If the pass has the letter E it is good for NYCT subway/ Bus *only* If it has the letter U it is good for Local NYCT bus, MaBSTOA Bus, NYCT Subway.

MaBSTOA employees have orange and green photos- good for MaSTOA *only*
(MaSBTOA employees with a U [Universal] pass have same privileges as NYCT

The pass is *not* valid on:
private bus lines(ie : Command, Green, Queens Surface, etc.)
Express Bus of any operator
NJ Transit train or bus
SIRT trains but is valid on SI local bus. (SIRT employees must pay for
NYCT bus/subway)
LI Bus (LI Bus employees must pay for NYCT subway/bus)

Also the NYPD has a special MetroCard- white with blue letters.for
3. How Do I Check the Balance on a  Regular Metrocard?
On a pay-per-ride MetroCard there are three ways to do this. One, Use the MetroCard on a bus and it will tell you how much you paid and how much you have left. Two, Use the Metrocard in a subway turnstile and it will also tell you how much you paid and how much money you have left on the MetroCard, it will also tell you when the card will expire. Three, Use a MetroCard readed and it will tell you when the card will expire and how much money you have left.
On Unlimited rides there are two ways to see how much time you have left. One, On a bus it will tell you when it expires. Two, on a Metrocard reader it will also tell you when it expires.
4. How Do I Check the Balance on a  Non-Regular Metrocard?
Student, Elderly, and Employess card only have one way to check when they expire and that is through the Metrocard readers.
5. Can I Buy A MetroCard On-Line?
No, as of the moment the only authorized online retailer of metrocards,, has stopped selling them. Unconfirmed rumors are that the MTA will start selling them from there own website,
6. What Do I Do With Expired or Lost MetroCards?
All Metrocards have an experation date printed on the back of the card. When a non-unlimited MetroCard expires you have one full year after the date to bring it to a station agent and have the remaining balence on the defunct card to a new card. A unlimited card must be mailed or brought to the first floor of MTA headquarters, The address is below. Student MetroCards expire in November and in June. Once a student MetroCard is lost, the School sends the lost MetroCard serial number to the MTA where they deactivate the card, making it useless. Old MetroCards should be thrown away or placed into a Discarded MetroCard Box which is usally located  next to a MetroCard Readed or On a Token Booth. Once a metrocard is placed into a Discarded MetroCard Box it becomes deactivated and can not be reinstated.
Lost cards cannot be replaced. Once they are lost the MTA holds on responsibly
9. Will the MVMs replace the Station Agents(Token Clerks)?
Absolutely not, what will likely happen is that agents will no longer be selling things and will be able to leave the booth, to assist persons with the machines which will be the only way to pay fare, and with directions, maps and other duties which agents already perform. Sort of like other Rail systems, like DC Metro, and Marta.
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      7. Who do I contact if somthing does go wrong
The fastest way to get a response is to mail a letter to the MTA's headquarters. The letter should have what your problem is and if you used a MVM, the number of the Machine you used, (found to the left of the Single Ride dispenser). They should give you credit or a brand new MetroCard.

The Address is:

MTA Customer Assistance
370 Jay Street, 7th Floor
Brooklyn, New York 11201
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8. What does an MVM do that a station agent doesn't?
Stations agents do not accept credit cards or ATM cards or sell Fun Passes or Single Ride cards.   But the MVM does, however, the machine has a much lower limit for change ($6 vs. $20) and does not sell tokens, or accept them as payment for Metrocards.
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                10. How can a transaction FAIL?
A transaction will fail when you have inserted money but cancelled either forcibly by the machine or by personal choice. In addition, if you have traded in cards, but have not received the value in return. In all cases, a receipt is printed which you can mail in a postage paid envelope with an appropriate form for credits and refunds.
Why would the machine forcibly cancel my transaction?
The only reason I know of is if you don't do anything for a while, the machine will go idle. A box will appear over the screen warning you and allowing you to touch OK here to stop the machine from canceling. If you don't, you are cancelled.
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