Subway Cheapskate Makes Out on Leftover Fare

Posted on December 16th, 2008 by The SUBWAYblogger in Bums, Rider Strategy

Stack of Metrocards

Turns out it’s not just the homeless guys that pick up the tossed Metrocards to try and to use the leftover values.

The Post reports that Georgette DiFini, an F line resident of Brooklyn, regularly picks up discarded Metrocards.  She claims that roughly 40% of all tossed cards have at least some money left on them.  Not enough for a ride though.

You might be asking yourself how on earth would anyone be left with anything less than a whole dollar on their Metrocard.  Well, it’s that tricky 15% bonus you get on any fare purchase over $7.00.  If you get a $7 card, you’re going to get bonused $1.05.  That damn $0.05 is going to carry over.

The MTA says simply refill your card to use the leftover bonus.  So in this case, you’d have to add another $0.95 to cover the remaining balance of a $2.00 fare.  It’s like the MTA is getting their ideas from the crack dealer’s handbook.  Get just a little taste extra to keep them coming back.  The $1.05 isn’t worth a damn thing.  They’ll need to spend another $0.95 to be able to use it.

Anyway, this woman finds these cards everyday. How many you ask?  Try around 45 a day!

The then takes her loot up to the tokenbooth to rollover the balance onto her card.  She’s making about $10 a week she says.

Not a bad idea if you don’t mind fighting the bums for their finds.

What happens to all the “change” that never gets used?  The MTA keeps it of course.  That change adds up to about $4 million a year.  That’s a $4 million donation New Yorkers make to the MTA a few cents at a time.

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  1. FELICIA said on December 16th, 2008 at 2:56 am

    That’s great that she’s finding a lot of cards with money on them. Most of the passengers are just too dumb and too lazy to refill their cards.You’d be surpised to see a lot of them don’t know to even refill the card at all, they just toss them on the floor or stick it on the machines or the turnstiles They are many many more just like her out there doing the same thing, all types of people, some are also working people and then you have senior citizens, transit employees, the homeless and the swipers of course. She should have been a little more discreet about mentioning to the media that she has station agents who will transfer the money from about a dozen cards for her, in one transaction. Those agents can have a problem with management on that. The agent should have told her, look I’m really not supposed to be doing this, only 5 cards at a time, but I’ll do you the favor, just keep your mouth shut about it, thank you.

    Reply
  2. Pas paaditlem said on December 16th, 2008 at 5:59 am

    Ok, thats a bit scary. They should give that money to charity, instead of keaping it.

    Reply
  3. Michael said on December 16th, 2008 at 6:52 am

    She is exaggerating if she says she finds value on %40 of the cards she finds. I have been picking up discarded cards for a long time and %5 is more realistic. Scroll down the right side of my blog http://www.chickenunderwear.com to see how much I find.

    Reply
  4. The SUBWAYblogger said on December 16th, 2008 at 9:57 am

    @Pas paaditlem: HA…yeah right. Did you know that if you lose something valuable on the subway or bus, they will actually sell it to the highest bidder if you don’t pick it up?

    Reply
  5. The SUBWAYblogger said on December 16th, 2008 at 9:57 am

    @Michael: {cough cough…plug plug}

    Reply
  6. FELICIA said on December 16th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    @Michael:
    She didn’t tell us what station she finds her cards, all she mentioned was the F line, so I would think she has to be somewhere in midtown in a high volume busy area with a lot of tourists who throw away their metrocards all the time, so I’d say 34th St, 42nd St or 50th St Rockefeller Center. Of course she’s exaggerating to some degree, she was in the NY Post.

    Reply
  7. Michael said on December 16th, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    @FELICIA:
    The best cards I find are not in the subway, they are in the supermarket or on the movie theater line. It’s clumsy New Yorkers reaching for their cash and dropping their card. From my experience, the further one is from the subway, the more likely a found card has significant value on it.

    Reply
  8. Bod said on December 17th, 2008 at 11:18 am

    @Michael:
    So Michael, When you’re standing in line and someone drops their card you simply pick it up and put it in your pocket? I think there something fishy about this guy.

    Reply
  9. Michael said on December 17th, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    @Bod:
    No that would be that same as not returning a lost wallet with id in it to the owner.

    Reply
  10. Anthony said on December 17th, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    I don’t understand why people wouldn’t just put $40 at a time on their cards to make the balance an even $46 :s

    Reply
  11. Cash Genie said on February 15th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    It certainly isnt worth it.. leave it to the bums man..

    Reply
  12. supersonic556 said on May 7th, 2010 at 5:01 am

    ALso some people throw away expired card with money on them that you can actually exchange for money at the machine. I picked up all cards from the floor checked them at the reader and I had found two $7 cards expired. Two cards with $4.05 each both expired. & and one $3.50 cents card expired.In fact past reports indicate straphangers threw away $53.1 million dollars worth of expired cards in 2009. Many people arent awayre of the fact that you can trade in expired cards for new cards that have not have expired at the metrocard vending machine IF the current dates isnt one year past the expiration date . If the current date is over one year past the expiration date on the card you can only trade the expired card witht he same value for a new card by mailing it in. For Example Around february 26th 2010 I found a metrocard with $6.50 cents but it said card expired December 2010. Since February 26th 2010 isnt one year past the expiration date of December 2010 I went to the metrocard vending machine. Hit Start. Select my Lanuguage english . Select metro card. Select " REFILL CARD"

    Reply
  13. supersonice556 said on May 7th, 2010 at 5:01 am

    (HINT; you MUST select "REFILL CARD' in order to trade the expired card with money on it for a new card with the same value on it that has not expired.) Insert the card with $6.50 expired. A message will appear. It says $6.50 card expired and a Question will also appear with an option to choose.The message reads. Card Expired, trade in for a new card? ( then you hit either yes or no) If you hit yes it will say remove you old card. DO just as it says the old card will come of the machine into the metrocard slot. Take the card out . After you have done that a new message will appear it will say " take your new card. DO just as it says take a new card out and ht enew message appears with a new question . THe new message is "You now have a $6.50 metrocard. FOllowed by the question, do you want a reciept. You hit yes or no for the reciept.

    Reply
  14. supersonic556 said on May 7th, 2010 at 4:39 am

    i HAD JUST GOTTEN OFF THE train I picked up all the cards around the booth in front of the metrocard reader. There were about 12 cards total. I checked eveyone of them by swiping them at the turnstiles. One of them have $17.25 then detducted 2.25 after i swiped it so I was left with a free $15.00 metrocard : )

    Reply
  15. Supersonice556 said on May 7th, 2010 at 5:03 am

    My mistake it said card expired "DEcember 2009"

    Reply
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