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How to Pay Only $0.13 per Ride on NYC Transit instead of $2.75?

New York Culture
Photo byvwalakte via Freepik (licensed)

Transportation costs can add up over time, especially if you use public transit often. NYC's transit isn't cheap and costs $33 weekly or $127 monthly - that's if you'd like to buy the unlimited ride pass. A single ride amounts to $2.75.

I was writing about a hack that allows you to save $1 off each ride and pay $1.75 instead of $2.75, which can add up to a significant amount of savings by the end of the month. And then I stumbled upon an even more insane way that would allow you to pay $0.13 per trip if you combine that hack with another one. Yes, you read it correctly: 13 cents.

Here is how you do it.

Disclaimer: There is no affiliation to any apps or other articles mentioned here. No affiliate links are included either.

How to Pay Only 18 Cents?

I described the first part in my previous story. You need to download a CashApp to take advantage of the $1-per-ride discount. The discount works once every 6 hours, meaning most of us who travel to work or school can utilize those savings twice daily.

But it turns out there is a way to master this $1 boost even better. It requires some preparation and work, so you have to invest a little time into it. But the way I see it, paying $0.13 per ride and saving $2.57 off a $2.75 ride is worth it.

I read about this hack from another blogger named Luke. He shared this method with others, but I also want to do the math here to explain this further. Here's the algorithm:

1. You prepare beforehand and load money to your Metrocard multiple times using CashApp.

2. Activate the $1-off boost on CashApp.

3. According to Luke, you can load a minimum of $1.05 to your Metrocard in a single transaction. It means that upon activating the $1-off boost, you can load $1.05 to your Metrocard. You will only get charged $0.05 for that transaction but will end up with $1.05 on the Metrocard.

4. You can repeat this in 6 hours, and then again and again, until you'll have a sizable amount on your Metrocard, enough for you to travel around NYC in the next week or longer.

The Math Behind This

Here's how the math works out:

1. You activate the boost and load $1.05 to your Metrocard. You pay only $0.05.

2. After 6 hours, you do it again. Now you have $2.10 on the Metrocard, and you have spent $0.10 so far.

3. After another 6 hours, you repeat this. Finally, you have $3.15 on the Metrocard, and you have spent $0.15 of your money.

You now have $3.15 available for a transit fare which costs $2.75. All you spent was $0.15. Suppose we do the math: $2.75 / $3.15 x $0.15 = $0.13. You spend exactly 13 cents on the $2.75 fare thanks to activating that boost. You will now have the leftover $0.40 to use towards the next ride.

The Downside

The obvious downside of this if you'd have to load $1 continuously many times until you have enough funds on the Metrocard to cover your future trips. Since the CashApp boost only works every 6 hours, you would have to set the alarm and remember to do this. This may need some preparation, possibly on your days off and during work/school. It can get annoying, but the savings could be pretty serious.

The other downside is you need to remember that some banks charge you monthly fees based on how many transactions you make each month. But I think CashApp has its own internal CashApp debit card you can set up (again, I'm not promoting the app; use your discretion when trying out new apps). If not, having a credit card is helpful as you can usually complete a ton of transactions without incurring any fees.

How Much Can You Save?

Well, suppose you use the NYC transit ten times a week for work or another obligation. If a month has 4.33 weeks, that's 43 trips x a regular fare cost of $2.75 = $118.25.

But if you pay $0.13 per trip, you'll end up paying $5.59 per month for those 43 trips. This means you'll save $112.66 monthly or $1,351.92 a year, which is mindboggling. That's trip to Jamaica! Or $1,351.92 to use towards a hobby or another financial obligation. I work too hard, so I dream about a trip to Jamaica.

Now, CashApp may not be around forever. But currently, this boost is offered until the end of May 2023. I'm hoping it will get extended, though.

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