There are two things on this planet that I find deeply annoying: math and dealing with the subway in New York. When those forces combine, you get a machine and its evil sorcery that always insures that I'm left with a useless "extra" balance on my MetroCar that is insufficient to fund a train ride. It puts me at my absolute worst. You would cringe and weep to hear the obscenities I've hurled at these benign card machine robots when I've realized that, yet again, they have trapped a dollar and change in this useless plastic square that I could have otherwise used to buy a Diet Coke or maybe some candy or really anything I want because it's my money and I want it. But have I ever actually sat down and figured out the numbers involved to make sure this doesn't happen? Of course not because math.
Luckily, there exist in the world people who are infinitely more intelligent than I am and they have solved this problem. Writer Ben Wellington of I Quant NY goes into detail about how to keep your money is your pocket where it is most useful and out of the pockets of the MTA until it actually has a reason to be there. Apparently, the magic numbers are $9.55, $19.05 and $38.10. When you're adding dollars to your card, don't pick one of the pre-sets amount. Instead, enter one of a few magical values by selecting the "other amount" option, and you will find yourself breaking even instead of being left with useless, but still very real, dollars on your MetroCard. Here is a more detailed breakdown of how this works.
Hurray! Suck on that, MTA! One annoying part of using public transit down, 47 billion to go.
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