So this little card is your gateway to subway travel. The advantages for a local are that it eliminates the need for a vehicle for city living (thus saving you thouands of dollars a month for a permament parking space not to mention the time trying to find a space on a street when running errands). It’s pretty affordable. $2.25 gets you anywhere you need to go one way. The card also works for the bus system. That fare is $5.50 one way. This is much cheaper than a cab would be.
Now, you can actually pre-pay and if you load $10 or more on to the card, you get a 7% savings. Initially, I was cheap about it and would only fill the card with $10 or so but I never knew where I really stood until I’d get in the subway turnstile. God forbid I be out of “credits” on the card during rush hour with a ton people trying to get home…the dirty looks as they say, “Tourist!!!” under their breath while I then try to weasel myself out of line and back to the card machine to add more credits is enough to never want to be caught in that predicament again. All those lessons I learned in August when Tara and I were out there for a visit.
So, in my head, I thought it was best to pre-pay a high dollar amount on the card. The only thing I was worried about was losing it. So I ran a little test. I tried keeping my card from August till December just to see if I’d hold on to it that long. It was a success! Of course, as soon as I tried to use it when I returned in December, I was out of credits 🙁 So I refilled the card and because I thought I was skilled enough to keep the card for a long time period, I put $50 on it. Not even a day later, I lost the card. What a bummer. So now my wife has limited me to the $10 cards. Guess I just have to keep track of where I stand in my head.
One other little thing I have yet to master is sliding the card through the card reader. Sounds so simple right? But, you have to realize there is a lot of pressure with a ton of people coming right behind you to catch their ride. Not only that but it’s a little finicky. If you slide the card too fast, it won’t read. If you slide it too slow, it won’t read. You’ve got to catch it just right. I’ve got about a 70% average in getting it right the first time. I’m working towards 100%. I’ll keep you posted on how it comes along.