7-day Metro Card Questions

Jul 16th, 2012, 03:50 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 181
7-day Metro Card Questions

Hi, I'm coming to NY with my 14-yr-old daughter first week in August for 8 days. I looked at the Metro Card site and just needed some further info from experienced New Yorkers please!

I figure a 7-day unlimited pass would be good since we're there for about a week. If I buy one pass, can it be used for both of us? How does that work technically? (I mean the actual procedure - is it a card you swipe, go through a turnstile, hand it back...? I haven't been in NY for 25 years and never took the subway then!).

Or does each individual require her own card?

Also, we'll arrive at LaGuardia - can I buy the 7 day pass there?

Is this the type of card that I should be buying actually?

Thanks for the help!
tamaraten is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 04:54 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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For a trip of this length, the 7-day pass is your best bet. However, one 7-day pass can be used by only one person. It cannot be shared, while a regular pay-per-ride Metrocard can be shared.

You can buy the pass at LGA from machines on the lower baggage claim level of Terminal B (where American Airlines arrives) and only in that terminal. The machines are in a nondescript hallway between the two baggage claim areas, so if you arrive at the C and D gates, you have to descend to baggage claim and walk all the way past all the carousels to the LEFT. If you arrive at the A and B gates, you descend to baggage claim and then walk all the way to the RIGHT past all the carousels. THe machines are in the middle of that hall, and you have to pay with a credit or debit card. If you're flying Delta or USAirways, then you'll arrive at another terminal, and those terminals don't have Metrocard machines.

But I'd recommend not buying a card immediately upon arrival. A transfer with luggage on a city bus, while possible, is uncomfortable and difficult. I'd recoommend either a taxi to your hotel or an airport bus to a central location like Grand Central or the Port Authority, depending on where you're staying. Buy a MetroCard after you've settled in, and don't use it until you need it. The 7-day period starts upon the first use (not when you buy it). It lasts until midnight on the day of expiration, so you could still use it up to the morning of your departure if you bought and used it the next day.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 06:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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What Doug said is very true. With an unlimited card, you cannot use the card again after a swipe until 18 minutes have passed (unless you are transferring subway-bus or bus-bus).

Here is information on the MTA website:

On that page, read also the Conditions of Use for Unlimited Ride MetroCard. (Note that you want the regular 7-day pass, not the "Express" one.)

There isn't a very good way to take public transit from LGA into the city (city bus to subway at either Queens Plaza or 125th Street in Manhattan).
ggreen is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If you are not in a hurry, and don't have alot of luggage, you can take the M60 bus at LaGuardia to Manhattan, and you will get a nice view of the city on your way in. There are racks on those buses for luggage and it will come into Manhattan and travel across 125th St, and you can connect to most subway lines at 125th.

If you give us an idea of where you are staying we can give you directions.

The 7 day card is a good idea, and you will want to use it to get around the city, traffic is really bad right now, lots of tourists and alot of bumper to bumper traffic, so the subway is the fastest way to get around.

You will need 2 cards.
travelbuff is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 12:33 PM
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One thing you should know about the 7 day unlimited (the others already said each person must have their own).

Since you will be here for a week the 7 day card ($29.00) is a good idea BUT in order for the card to be worth it you have to use it 13 times in the 7 day period just to break even (13 x the fare of $2.25 = $29.25). You don't start saving money until the 14th use.

Since you haven't been in for 25 years (and not even used the subway) I suggest you take a look at the subway map online (you can get a paper copy for free at any booth at a subway station). Things have changed quite a bit in 25 years.


There are also apps that can be loaded to various hand-held devices (including the map): http://mta.info/apps/

Also please be aware that if for some reason the MetroCard doesn't work right, do not be tempted to duck under the turnstile or enter thru one of the exit gates. If there is a police officer (uniform or plainclothes) nearby you will get a ticket for $100 for Fare Evasion. I have seen a number of people get tickets because they had problems with the MetroCard and decided to just enter the system. Just because you have a MetroCard (unlimited or regular) does not mean the fare was properly paid. (I am not trying to be a downer here but it is something you should be aware of).

Welcome back to NY. Have a good flight and enjoy your stay.

Note to ggreen - the M60 bus from the airport does not stop at Queens Plaza (or Queensboro Plaza). It stops at Astoria Blvd (N and Q trains) before heading across the RFK/Tri-boro Bridge into Manhattan.
nycguy10002 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 12:43 PM
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nycguy, most of what you wrote out is covered on the MTA page I linked to. And I did not identify any specific bus. I made a reference that there are two bus options: that's what the word either is for.

Of course I know that the M60 bus goes through Astoria and across 125th Street in Manhattan. Did you know that the Q33 goes from LGA to the 7 train in Jackson Heights? (My mistake that I accidentally wrote the wrong subway stop in Queens; the intention was to reinforce to the OP that taking public transit from LGA probably isn't in their best interest.)
ggreen is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 08:08 PM
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We were in New York for about 5 days. We bought the unlimited passes even though we were not there the full 7. We liked it that we could get on and off for a short trip and not worry about adding cash to a card or calculating how many trips we took. We especially liked it that the card worked on the buses too.

While I can't promise, you likely WILL use a subway or bus at least 2x a day--to get to your destination and then to return home. And you may want to go to a second destination during the day so that's 3 trips on one day.

Even if you don't hit the magic 14 trips, the other way to think about it is that you saved yourself 2-3 taxi rides a day.
5alive is offline  
Jul 17th, 2012, 11:31 AM
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Thank you so much to all of you for your very thoughtful and informative replies.

Just to clarify - I am not planning to take a bus/subway in from the airport, but rather a cab. Somewhere on one of the threads, I read that one should absolutely buy a Metro Card at the airport upon arrival. I didn't think that was necessarily connected to only if one plans to take a subway/bus from the airport to one's destination. I thought there might be some other reason- perhaps convenience in purchasing- but didn't know what exactly.

I think it's good advice to wait then, and buy a card once we've settled in. I do believe the subway/bus will be our primary mode of transportation but I'm not sure we'll use it every single day. So that's a consideration. Now that I know that the card cannot be used for two people - the only reason I thought it might be was because I understood the regular Metro Card could be used for two- it's probably worth it just to buy a card with money in it and do pay per use.

Thanks again for the wonderful information and advice.
tamaraten is offline  
Jul 17th, 2012, 11:40 AM
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Think of the unlimited card as a buffet--yes, all you can eat, but only for one person! The transit system would go broke if an unlimited card could be used by more than one person.

I still think the unlimited cards are worth it, especially since you will be here at least 7 days. Many people think they get their money's worth after only 3 or 4 days.

When it's very hot or you're just tired, it's often easy to hop on a bus for 10 blocks. If you have to think about paying for it, do I have enough money left on the card, it's not so convenient. Also you have to go into a subawy station t add money to a card. Again, if you want to use a bus and there's no station right nearby...
I think bus use for short rides is underrated in NYC. I routinely see people getting on the subway for one stop, and then they have to walk a couple blocks more. Buses can be faster and more efficent for those kinds of rides.
nyer is offline  
Jul 17th, 2012, 11:45 AM
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I agree with this ^^^^. When we were there in late May, DD and I each got a 7-day card as soon as we arrived at our hotel (subway station was at the end of the block). I never bothered to compute if we got our money's worth, but even if we didn't technically save any money, the convenience was well worth it. I also agree about how valuable the bus can be for a short trip, especially when it's hot!
musicfan is offline  
Jul 17th, 2012, 12:01 PM
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tamaraten, I figured you were going to take a taxi from the airport.

I tend to do all the calculations for the unlimited Metrocard and purchase it very infrequently as a result. However, for your specific situation, I think I'd recommend it AND getting it at the airport! Especially since Doug gave you such a detailed description of where to find it at LGA.

My recommendation is based on the two facts I remember from your previous posts: your daughter is recovering from wearing a leg cast, and your hotel is on 54th between Park and Madison. That location is not as close to a subway station as where 5alive and musicfan stayed, but IS in a great place to hop an uptown bus along Madison or downtown on 5th Ave. Even better, there are four bus lines that ply those avenues: the M1, M2 and M3 will take you far; the M4 turns west on 34th Street to Penn Station...

The MTA puts it bus maps online and you can pick one up from a subway toll booth, but they're very large! The mobile apps are better.
FWIW, take a look at the Manhattan map and notes here:
ggreen is offline  
Jul 17th, 2012, 12:29 PM
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You know what...I think I've changed my mind. You're all very logically convincing! I guess I will get the unlimited after all....and with Doug's detailed instructions of location at the airport, how could I not?!
tamaraten is offline  
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