Discussion relating to the past and present operations of the NYC Subway, PATH, and Staten Island Railway (SIRT).

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by Aces
After receiving one of the new Super Bowl themed MetroCards from a vending machine I decided to see if there would be a collector's market for them on eBay. Sure enough they were going for 10-20 dollars each (and those were "sold" listings). I decided to get in on the action and listed mine, only to have my listing (and most but not all others) removed. I was notified via email by eBay, included was a link to a short list of excluded "Government, transit, and shipping" items including:

U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mailbags, mail bins, and delivery vehicles

Valid New York City Metro cards

"There are strict federal regulations banning or restricting the sale of government, transit, and shipping-related items. Along with buyers and sellers on eBay, we have to comply with those regulations. So most of these items can't be listed on eBay."

This means a tourist returning from a trip to NYC could not sell their remaining balance to a regular user, perhaps at a small discount. The Subway will not provide a cash refund. Now the card I was selling had no value on it and I clearly stated that in the listing. In this morning's NYTimes there was an article about the 500 million dollars left on expired MetroCards in the decade ended 2010 and 95 million in 2012 alone. In the words of W.C. Fields "I smell the footprints of a foul conspiracy"
  by Crabman1130
You would have to wait until that card expires.

You can transfer a balance from a card to another card before it expires.
  by Kamen Rider
you would have been better off in the days before they allowed you to reuse unlimited cards.
  by Aces
Thanks for the responses! I was trying to point out the arbitrary and capricious (Seinfeld fans go ahead and tell me my "fly is open") nature of the ban. I understand a concern with people getting hold of uniforms and equipment but anyone can go up to any metrocard machine any time and use cash to purchase as many metrocards as they want.

I really can't see how prohibiting their sale on Ebay adds to public safety. Cheers to NYC Subway and buses this morning for getting us to work despite snow, cold weather, and outrageous winds!
  by Allan
I find that very strange because - with the exception of the MetroCards that have a photo on them plus the ones that are marked reduced fare and the student/school MetroCards - a MetroCard is a 'bearer instrument" meaning that whoever is holding the card can use it (in the case of unlimited cards the 18 minute lockout applies). Nowhere on the card or in the terms of use (on the website) does it say that use is restricted to the person who first bought it.

If I have a card for $19.05 (+ bonus = $20.00) and I want to sell it for whatever the balance remains on the card (or sell it on ebay) - it would be 100% within the law. Selling rides individually at the turnstile would be illegal (usually applies to the unlimited cards).

My guess is that as the MTA monitors ebay on a constant basis (people have tried to vests, keys, radios etc) they bullied ebay into pulling the cards from being listed. ebay caves in whenever there is a threat from an agency like the MTA.