There are three different ways of purchasing a MetroCard.

MetroCard is a thin card made of plastic and can be operated in two modes: Regular and Unlimited Ride. Regardless, the mode card looks the same, so it is not possible to see the difference before swiping it at a card reader. Both types of cards cost $1.

MetroCards can be purchased at any subway station at a staffed ticket booth or a vending machine that is located inside the station. However, riders should consider that the smaller machine does not accept cash when with large machines, it is possible to pay with both cash and credit cards.


The Regular MetroCard is also referred to as a Pay-Per-Ride card and can be shared between four people. For sharing the card, it should be swiped maximum four times to let several people through the turnstiles. Pay-Per-Ride cards can also be used for other public transportation such as buses.

Users can keep on adding value to the card whenever their balance is running low. However, when buying a card, passengers should consider that the $1 cost of the card cannot be used to pay for the rides.

Unlimited Ride Cards

Unlimited Ride cards are providing the convenience of riding the subway as often as required, as long as the time window purchased for the card hasn't passed.

There are two-time window options:

  • Seven-day Unlimited Ride costs $33, excluding a $1 fee for the card.
  • The price for the thirty-day unlimited ride is $127 without a $1 fee for the card.
  • The time window activates only after the first swipe of the card at a turnstile.

    The 18-minute delay between each of the swipes prevents sharing the card between two people.