Are you angry over the latest round of increases in bus and subway fare? Well, take heart. There's a way to beat the system, and it's completely legal.
It's also a time honored tradition. Back in the 1970's, when the fare increased, the city was in huge financial trouble. The MTA could not afford to issue new subway tokens or pay for workers to recalibrate each turnstile to handle new tokens.
Once word spread that the fare would increase, but the tokens would remain the same, New Yorkers spent their Christmas vacations buying up tokens in advance of the fare increase, which usually took place on New Year's Day. The only thing the MTA could do was to limit token sales to five at a time. So commuters would run between the uptown and downtown token booths to stock up.
So here's the plan (and yes, we've run it by the MTA) -- if you use a pay per ride Metrocard, start buying them now.Give some to your friends for Christmas. They make a great stocking stuffer. They're lightweight and don't require a lot of gift wrap. You'll still be getting that 15 percent bonus. But after December 30th, that bonus shrinks to just 7 percent. Once the cash is placed on your card, there isn't much the MTA can do about it.
One tip: don't put too much money on any one card. It's better to spread the amounts out onto several cards, in case you lose one.
As for the unlimited ride Metrocards, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz tells NBCNewYork.com that they're working on some sort of grace period before those cards will expire, so it's probably not a good idea to stock up on those.