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iquantny

How Memorizing “$19.05” Can Help You Outsmart the MTA

iquantny:

We’ve all been there.  The train is coming into the station, and you grab your MetroCard and quickly try and swipe it at a turnstile.  

"Please Swipe Again".  "Please Swipe Again".  "Insufficient Fare".

The last two words are killer.  You think to yourself “I swear I had a balance on this card”.   You go and check the card out and you see you have “$2.45”.  Yes, you need $2.50 to ride the subway, and you have $2.45 on your MetroCard.  Sure enough you miss that train all because of that nickel. 

How did you end up in that situation any way?   It turns out the MTA has designed it that way.  Imagine how many tourists come to NYC and leave with balances that never get used.  Imagine how many people lose metro cards with those balances that never get used.  And even if it gets used on a later refill, the MTA gets to collect the cash earlier this way!  Win win for them, right?  

But now, with some simple math, you can fight back!  

First, let’s see how the MTA tricks you out of your money earlier than you might want to release it to them.

When you are buying a MetroCard, you can get a 5% bonus if your purchase is big enough.  So you get the following screen early on in the purchase process: 

image

If you click the button on the left, they just got you.  Your card will have $9.45 on it, meaning you will get 3 rides and end up with $1.95.  That is a great deal for the MTA.  They get all the money from every rider who does that, and they get the interest on that until you refill again and repeat the cycle.  

Let’s say you don’t take the bait.  You click MetroCard.  Then you get this screen with three new short cuts:

image

Three quick options.  But wait a minute.  One button leaves you with the same $9.45 card, and gives a remainder of $1.95 after just three uses. The next one is even more frustrating: you end up with a $19.95 card, leaving a remainder after 7 uses of $2.45!   That’s right, the nickel we were talking about earlier.  The last option does not leave you much better off.   You’ll get a $40.95 card, which leads to $0.95 on your card after you use 16 rides.  So all three buttons presented leave quite a bit of “insufficient fare” on the card. 

So how do you fight back  Well, click “Other Amounts” and type your own values: 

image

and remember these three magic numbers:   $9.55, $19.05 and $38.10. That’s right. Never use the short cuts.  Just type in one of those numbers.  

Once you do, you’ll see your excess balances nearly vanish once you apply the 5% bonuses: 

image

Buy a $19.00 card?  $2.45 left on card after use.  Buy a $19.05 card?  No balance left after use!  Magic.  But what if you want a $10.00 MetroCard? There is literally no way to buy one because of the 5% bonus and the fact that all payments need to be divisible by a nickel.  Your options are to pay $9.50 to get a $9.98 card after bonus, or pay $9.55 to get a $10.03 card after bonus.   Once again, you literally can’t buy a $10 metro card from a machine. 

If you absolutely don’t want any left over money, you really only have three choices of payments below $40, as seen in the table below: 

image

If the pennies bother you, then maybe memorize these three numbers: $11.90, $19.05, $30.95.

So if the MTA really cares, what can they do to fix this?

Well here at I Quant NY, I’ve been hard at work coming up with a proposed software change.  After much thought, check out this before and after: 

Before:

image

After:

image

Not a big change you say?  Echm.  That’s right.  If they really wanted to fix the issue, they could ask “How much do you want on your MetroCard” instead of “How much do you want to pay”.  But don’t count on those changes coming to a MetroCard Vending Machine near you anytime soon, given how lucrative the current set up is.   

Which means it’s up to you.  Write down the three numbers, $9.55, $19.05 and $38.10 or pick just the one that matches your buying habits best.  You could even write it on the back of your Metrocard if you can figure out how to get ink to stay on it.  (There’s a reason they are so shiny.)

A side note: one reason that the MTA may do this is to make paying with cash easier. It would be a nightmare to dispense change if cash buyers used this technique.  But that does not explain why they can’t update the credit card only machines or all other machines if they first ask if you are using cash or credit.  And of course unlimited card buyers avoid this all together.  Also, this does not include the $1 fee associated with new metro cards. 

So in closing, Math is useful.  And luckily, you don’t have to be Einstein to outsmart the MTA.  Plus, guess what year Einstein handed in his dissertation…  You guessed it.  1905.  

For the latest I Quant NY data analysis of this great city, sign up for my Mailing List (about one post a week), Follow me on Facebook or Follow me on Twitter.  I tell stories with data.

Past posts include finding and fixing the most profitable fire hydrant in NYC, showing that the Health Department is inflating grades or looking at gender and Citibike.

Ben Wellington is a Visiting Assistant Professor in The City & Regional Planning Program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he focuses  on NYC Open Data.  He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from NYU.

Update (9/8/2014):

Some have pointed out that this may not be intentional.  Yes, it could be the case that even though the MTA takes in about $50 million dollars a year in unredeemed excess balances that no one ever noticed this.   I don’t have any idea where these decisions come from, so I am not in a place to point fingers with any proof.  But, intentional or not, the buttons are tricking people out of their money.  If it really is unintentional, I’d be thrilled because it won’t be long until the problem is fixed given all the attention this post has gotten.  So let’s hope all the people who say the MTA did not do this intentionally are correct.  I can think of no better way to be proven wrong. 

Update2 (9/8/2014):

MTA Responds!  Read more here

(via kyssthis16)

socialjusticekoolaid

raresenses:

nappynomad:

socialjusticekoolaid:

The Ferguson City Council convened for the first time since Mike Brown’s death, and proved that they literally give no fucks about what the community has to say. Added to their vague, paltry proposed reforms, seems real change will have to come in Ferguson via the ballot box. I don’t care where you live folks— let this be a lesson in voting/participating in your local elections and government! #staywoke #farfromover 

My people getting it!

these people are the real heroes. not the military, not politicians, not the Hollywood actors. they risked their lives and livelihoods to challenge white supremacy and institutionalized racism.

(via bankuei)

moniquill

fozmeadows:

karenhealey:

moniquill:

Oh honey, that’s just how old houses are. They settle. They sometimes creak or groan, or quietly weep, or demand blood sacrifice in voices that sounds like the fluttering wings of a thousand moths. It’s just the house settling. For whatever it can get. Go back to sleep.

I am trying to sleep you fascinating menace

so am I, the house whispers, yet you infest my skin, you sweat and dream within the wooden chambers of my heart, a frail, soft jonah I did not consent to swallow, and to which god then shall you pray for release, when all my doors are gone? you fear the dark, little moth, and yet you have locked yourself within a blackness lacking even stars. I was void, but you gave me substance; and who is to say where your soul goes, when you sleep within me? who is to say I do not replace it, do not weave you into my walls and wear your borrowed shell? when daylight comes, all shadows flee but those we carry with us.

wake, then, and see what you cast. 

(via brigidkeely)

ramannoodles20
ramannoodles20:

Occasionally I see things like this on my dash, and it hurts.  (I’m going to talk about the Disney part because that’s the part that affects me the most.)  The person who wrote that message at the top is clearly a white person.  They don’t understand what it’s like to go through life as a PoC woman.  Do you know how many characters I felt like I could dress up as growing up?  0.  Yeah, sure maybe I could’ve gotten away with dressing up like Jasmine, despite the fact that she was not Indian and not really an accurate representation of Middle Eastern women.  But I was not skinny enough and I didn’t feel at all comfortable wearing her princess costume.
So you know what, yeah, it’s not good enough for me when I see another Disney movie about a strong white female character.  Especially when all of the background characters are white too.  Do you really think that the rest of us didn’t exist in your countries way back when?  If so, I suggest you educate yourself by going to the medievalpoc blog, which is dedicated to PoC in European Art History.
It’s not fair for you to tell me that I should cherish another white girl main character like there aren’t any of them out there.  Why does my representation not matter to you?  I will fight to the ends of the Earth for my fellow WoCs and I to get representation.

ramannoodles20:

Occasionally I see things like this on my dash, and it hurts.  (I’m going to talk about the Disney part because that’s the part that affects me the most.)  The person who wrote that message at the top is clearly a white person.  They don’t understand what it’s like to go through life as a PoC woman.  Do you know how many characters I felt like I could dress up as growing up?  0.  Yeah, sure maybe I could’ve gotten away with dressing up like Jasmine, despite the fact that she was not Indian and not really an accurate representation of Middle Eastern women.  But I was not skinny enough and I didn’t feel at all comfortable wearing her princess costume.

So you know what, yeah, it’s not good enough for me when I see another Disney movie about a strong white female character.  Especially when all of the background characters are white too.  Do you really think that the rest of us didn’t exist in your countries way back when?  If so, I suggest you educate yourself by going to the medievalpoc blog, which is dedicated to PoC in European Art History.

It’s not fair for you to tell me that I should cherish another white girl main character like there aren’t any of them out there.  Why does my representation not matter to you?  I will fight to the ends of the Earth for my fellow WoCs and I to get representation.

(via dynastylnoire)

foodopia
foodopia:

Apple Pecan Pie Cronuts with Caramel Drizzle

foodopia:

Apple Pecan Pie Cronuts with Caramel Drizzle

(via ethiopienne)

Policy Kings Screening Tonight in Hollywood

THE POLICY KINGS is a sizzle reel for the pilot episode of a newly proposed 1930s dramatic gangster TV series (A cross-up between THE GODFATHER, HOODLUM, and THE WIRE).
 
OVERVIEW: The Policy Kings is a proposed one hour dramatic series that chronicles the life and times of NATHANIEL“HONEY JAW” COLLINS, an African American crime boss and businessman, and ANDY GARVELLI, head of an Italian crime family. Set against the backdrop of the 30s and 40s, the series shows these two former friend’s battle over the criminal enterprises in St. Louis after the end of prohibition. It spans a decade and takes place in St. Louis and Chicago. 
TPK MANN’S CHINESE THEATRE SCREENING INFO:
Indie Night
Saturday, September 6, 2014
4:00 PM - 8:00 PM 
(Doors Open At 4:00 PM - The Show Usually Starts Around 6:00 PM)
Hollywood and Highland Center
Level 3 - TCL Chinese 6 Theatres
6801 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
Admission is Free with a 2 Drink Minimum

*Please note that the theatre has a strict 21 and up policy and they can only make exceptions for cast and crew. There is no cover for the event but there is a 2 drink minimum at the door. Non-alcoholic ($13 for 2) and alcoholic beverages ($18 for 2) are available.

alivesoul
unapproachableblackchicks:

alivesoul:

Eleanor Bumpurs
Eleanor Bumpurs was one of the first victims of Police Brutality I can remember. My family was living in the Bronx at the time near her housing projects. Her killing was the talk of the neighborhood for years. In 1984, NYPD tried to evict her because she was four months behind on her rent of $98.65, she resisted, and was summarily shot twice with a 12 gauge shotgun.
Ms. Bumpurs was failed by the city in every way imaginable. She was failed by a social services system that could have granted her rental assistance but did not. She was failed by the mental health community which should have treated her mental illness properly but did not. And she was failed by a police force that was well aware of her conditions, knew she was a senior citizen and chose to barge into her apartment with a shotgun and riot shields.
No one was convicted of killing Ms. Bumpurs. A few people lost jobs but by the time Rudolph Giuliani took office as mayor her death was a distant memory.
I’ve been thinking about Ms. Bumpurs a great deal the last few days.
I wonder what her family thinks about the events of the day. I wonder what they would say about the killing of young black men and women like Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Ramarley Graham, Sean Bell, Mike Brown, Eric Garner and so many others. I cannot say for sure, but if I had a guess, it would be that not much has changed since the murder of Ms. Bumpurs…not much at all.
RIP Ms. Eleanor Bumpers

I didn’t know this.

unapproachableblackchicks:

alivesoul:

Eleanor Bumpurs

Eleanor Bumpurs was one of the first victims of Police Brutality I can remember. My family was living in the Bronx at the time near her housing projects. Her killing was the talk of the neighborhood for years. In 1984, NYPD tried to evict her because she was four months behind on her rent of $98.65, she resisted, and was summarily shot twice with a 12 gauge shotgun.

Ms. Bumpurs was failed by the city in every way imaginable. She was failed by a social services system that could have granted her rental assistance but did not. She was failed by the mental health community which should have treated her mental illness properly but did not. And she was failed by a police force that was well aware of her conditions, knew she was a senior citizen and chose to barge into her apartment with a shotgun and riot shields.

No one was convicted of killing Ms. Bumpurs. A few people lost jobs but by the time Rudolph Giuliani took office as mayor her death was a distant memory.

I’ve been thinking about Ms. Bumpurs a great deal the last few days.

I wonder what her family thinks about the events of the day. I wonder what they would say about the killing of young black men and women like Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Ramarley Graham, Sean Bell, Mike Brown, Eric Garner and so many others. I cannot say for sure, but if I had a guess, it would be that not much has changed since the murder of Ms. Bumpurs…not much at all.

RIP Ms. Eleanor Bumpers

I didn’t know this.

(via wrcsolace)

snarkbender

these children comparing me to Hitler while acting like Blackness & Latinidad are mutually exclusive

cooneyislandqueef:

snarkbender:

these ladies (among many others) have some thoughts for you:

image

image

image

I didn’t say that those things are completely exclusive I said that being a person of color doesn’t make you black.

You: Thinking you’re doing what’s right when really you’re being racist

Hitler: Thinks…

And see…I keep telling y’all about these epoxy eating children.

primadollly

http://snarkbender.tumblr.com/post/96739459433/primadollly-tw-rape-female-comedians

cooneyislandqueef:

snarkbender:

cooneyislandqueef:

snarkbender:

cooneyislandqueef:

snarkbender:

cooneyislandqueef:

primadollly:

[TW rape]

"Female comedians remember Joan Rivers: The one who led the way"

Take a good look at that photoset.

Sarah Silverman, uses blackface in her ‘comedy’.

Lena Dunham, completely ignores WoC- unless mocking Muslim women- in her ‘comedy’.

Ellen DeGeneres, “dresses…

Coming for Ellen because of that specific costume is a reach. If you bothered to watch that clip it has nothing to do with race and everything to do with the amount of cleavage Nicki was showing. They’re good friends so it was all in good fun. Don’t come for Ellen.

1) she still did the thing
2) that has several markers of viewing Nicki’s Body through a Racialised lens
3) “She has black friends!” nuh-uh
4) nobody’s saying she’s never done anything good, but you can’t deny that she did at least one problematic thing bc it makes you more comfortable or w/e.
5) she’s also done an impersonation of Sofia Vergara that was fucked up Racialised Misogynistic BS
6) and I feel like there’s at least one other example of her having fucking up, but that’s all I got off the top of my head.

First of all, I never argued that she had black friends. I said she was friends with Nicki.
Second, Nicki isn’t black, she’s from Trinidad. Assuming that all people of color are black makes you racist. How does it feel like being on the same level as Hitler you racist piece of shit.
Another thing, you’re saying these impersonations is Ellen targeting their race when really she’s making fun of a specific person. Nicki’s race is not defined by her body. She wasn’t even born with that body. She altered her appearance. Sofia’s race is not defined by the way she talks. Not all Colombians talk like that. Some have perfect Colombian accents and some have perfect American accents. The way Sofia talks is unique to her. Ellen isn’t saying “this is what black people, or Hispanic people, or Trinidadians do” she’s saying “this is me as Nicki Minaj or Sofia Vergara”. You implying that a specific race is categorizable by characteristics that a few people from that group have is what’s racist. Colombians and Trinidadians are very diverse people and they don’t deserve the amount of prejudice that you are showing them right now.

FIRST of all, you said, (and I quote), “They’re good friends so it was all in good fun.”, which is a roundabout way of saying “she has Black Friends!”

everything else you wrote is apologist garbage that is reaching so hard that your URL should be StretchArmstrongTapDancingForWhitiesDontFiteH8WithH8 so IDK why you’re here anyway.

c u never

Ok. You’re still trying to argue that Nicki is black. You’re wrong. And racist. Also, I’m not fighting for whites. I’m not white. I’m Mexican. Get it right before you try to label me and make yourself look bad. Me defending Ellen has nothing to do with her being white and all with you Social Justice Warriors turning something that has nothing to do with race into something racist. I’m here to have fun and be way cuter than you will ever be! And as the fabulous miss Joslyn Fox said “You’re ignorant”

Ok. you’re still acting like “Black” & “Latin American” are mutually exclusive. and also I never said you’re white, but everything you’re saying is defending whiteness, so.

and yeah ok I’m just a SJW trying to look for racist stuff to gripe about. whatever helps you sleep better an nite, cariñ@ jajajaja

You’re acting like black and Latin American are the same thing.

#sloppy

I mean, y’all can keep arguing with this child, but she’s clearly anti Black enough to divorce Nicki from her own heritage. Y’all let this one stay a mess. Way over there.

twerkingtargaryens

boygeorgemichaelbluth:

thatfunnyblog:

You know what’s creepy about Humpty Dumpty?

They never said he was an egg.

image

(via yakuntiklaylie)