Yesterday, new MTA MetroCard rates went live in New York. I visit often enough that I thought I’d put together a little chart to figure out the best amount of money to put on my MetroCard depending on the number of rides I need — thus helping me avoid the dead zone of change and a stack of useless MetroCards. The chart shows you how much to put in (by the number of rides you need) and in parenthesis tells you how much change you will have after using all the rides.
If you live in the city, $22.30 is the sweet spot with 9 rides and zero change at the end of it.
My parameters might be a little outdated, but when I lived in New York, deposits had to be in $0.05 increments. As far as I know, you don’t get a bonus until you deposit at least $5 and the bonus is now 11%. Code is here — adjust as needed.