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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 isinflating 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

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ainsleywrites:

penguinlove1001:

It’s Friday!

Today’s penguin post is perfect for when you are feeling down, tired, or just in the mood for some cuteness!!

penguin olympics! 

yourpitseleh

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mysoulhasgrowndeep-liketherivers:

the-goddamazon:

blueklectic:

I’ll be laughing at this for days to come

FOR REAL THO

I hate y’all lmao

mysoulhasgrowndeep-liketherivers:

the-goddamazon:

blueklectic:

I’ll be laughing at this for days to come

FOR REAL THO

I hate y’all lmao

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afro-dominicano:

thepeoplesrecord:

FBI billboards not about Assata Shakur; it’s about repressing the black communityMay 5, 2013
Following the ludicrous announcement that the Obama administration has placed Assata Shakur on its “most wanted terrorist list”, the FBI has erected billboards in Newark, New Jersey announcing its recently increased $2 million dollar reward. However, any critically thinking person knows that these billboards are not about capturing Assata Shakur but sending a message to the rest of us. Interestingly, perhaps just a coincidence or not, Newark, New Jersey is the place where a theater co-owned by Shaquille O’Neil, recently reneged on an agreement to show a popular independent film about the life of another former member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.Is Assata Shakur in New Jersey? No, she is not and the FBI and the Obama administration know exactly where she is, in Cuba where she has lived since being granted political asylum by its government in 1979 after escaping from prison. 
This is not about Assata Shakur, it is about sending a message to the Black community and those that live within it who stand up to police violence, oppression and murder of residents, one of the very reasons for the formation of the Black Panthers. It is about the political repression of those who advocate on the behalf of the many political prisons being held by the United States government often in torturous conditions. It is about sending a message to anyone who would take up arms in defense of life, liberty and true freedom in a country that is home to the largest prison population in the world which the federal government and various corporations use as slave labor. It is about sending a message to those that would dare stand up and point out that the US government is the most violent entity on the planet and one that commits acts of terrorism against non-white people and nations on behalf of maintaining the American imperialist status-quo.Why else would the U.S. government seek to name Assata Shakur as a domestic terrorist after all these decades? We are talking about a woman who was shot twice while attempting to give herself up to police who were co-operating with Federal authorities to target and assassinate or otherwise eliminate members of the Black Liberation movement just as they had done and admitted in a civil lawsuit to doing to Martin Luther King Jr.The FBI and its corporate media wing fail to report the details of the sham case built against Assata Shakur after failing to win convictions on other trump up charges. The corporate media is failing to point out that a police officer, a state witness against Assata Shakur for the murder of another police officer, has recanted his testimony and admitted to lying on the stand. Medical personnel stated that because of nerves severed by a bullet, Assata Shakur would have been physically prevented from firing a weapon and it was also stated that her wounds indicate her hands were raised when she was shot consistent with her claim that she was giving herself up.Just as Assata Shakur has pointed out that COINTELPRO utilized and received full cooperation from the corporate media to demonize and alienate freedom fighters from the people who supported them, corporate media today is still fulfilling that role. The concept of a free and independent press in America has always been a fraud and it remains so today.
Source
Read more about Assata Shakur & find a link to her autobiography here.

DO NOT FUCKING SLEEP ON THIS SHIT EVER.
Think of this; our government has placed efforts into researching social networks on the internet to pinpoint possible civilian activism (that may pose a threat to white supremacist capitalist order), and just last year they started putting up these billboards that again demonized Assata Shakur and painted her as a wanted killer rather than a framed activist. None of this is coincidental, they’re trying to specifically instill fear into black women who may want to join activist circles with similar interests as that of Assata. They want to make sure that another Assata doesn’t happen because why the fuck else would they randomly start putting billboards of someone who’s BEEN announced as ‘Most Wanted’ with a 2 million dollar bounty on her life. Why? intimidation. Our government has been studying us well and they probably fear another revolutionary or many revolutionaries similar to her will come through. Don’t ever forget how fearful our government is of intelligent black women.

afro-dominicano:

thepeoplesrecord:

FBI billboards not about Assata Shakur; it’s about repressing the black community
May 5, 2013

Following the ludicrous announcement that the Obama administration has placed Assata Shakur on its “most wanted terrorist list”, the FBI has erected billboards in Newark, New Jersey announcing its recently increased $2 million dollar reward. However, any critically thinking person knows that these billboards are not about capturing Assata Shakur but sending a message to the rest of us. Interestingly, perhaps just a coincidence or not, Newark, New Jersey is the place where a theater co-owned by Shaquille O’Neil, recently reneged on an agreement to show a popular independent film about the life of another former member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Is Assata Shakur in New Jersey? No, she is not and the FBI and the Obama administration know exactly where she is, in Cuba where she has lived since being granted political asylum by its government in 1979 after escaping from prison.

This is not about Assata Shakur, it is about sending a message to the Black community and those that live within it who stand up to police violence, oppression and murder of residents, one of the very reasons for the formation of the Black Panthers. It is about the political repression of those who advocate on the behalf of the many political prisons being held by the United States government often in torturous conditions. It is about sending a message to anyone who would take up arms in defense of life, liberty and true freedom in a country that is home to the largest prison population in the world which the federal government and various corporations use as slave labor. It is about sending a message to those that would dare stand up and point out that the US government is the most violent entity on the planet and one that commits acts of terrorism against non-white people and nations on behalf of maintaining the American imperialist status-quo.

Why else would the U.S. government seek to name Assata Shakur as a domestic terrorist after all these decades? We are talking about a woman who was shot twice while attempting to give herself up to police who were co-operating with Federal authorities to target and assassinate or otherwise eliminate members of the Black Liberation movement just as they had done and admitted in a civil lawsuit to doing to Martin Luther King Jr.

The FBI and its corporate media wing fail to report the details of the sham case built against Assata Shakur after failing to win convictions on other trump up charges. The corporate media is failing to point out that a police officer, a state witness against Assata Shakur for the murder of another police officer, has recanted his testimony and admitted to lying on the stand. Medical personnel stated that because of nerves severed by a bullet, Assata Shakur would have been physically prevented from firing a weapon and it was also stated that her wounds indicate her hands were raised when she was shot consistent with her claim that she was giving herself up.

Just as Assata Shakur has pointed out that COINTELPRO utilized and received full cooperation from the corporate media to demonize and alienate freedom fighters from the people who supported them, corporate media today is still fulfilling that role. The concept of a free and independent press in America has always been a fraud and it remains so today.

Source

Read more about Assata Shakur & find a link to her autobiography here.

DO NOT FUCKING SLEEP ON THIS SHIT EVER.

Think of this; our government has placed efforts into researching social networks on the internet to pinpoint possible civilian activism (that may pose a threat to white supremacist capitalist order), and just last year they started putting up these billboards that again demonized Assata Shakur and painted her as a wanted killer rather than a framed activist. None of this is coincidental, they’re trying to specifically instill fear into black women who may want to join activist circles with similar interests as that of Assata. They want to make sure that another Assata doesn’t happen because why the fuck else would they randomly start putting billboards of someone who’s BEEN announced as ‘Most Wanted’ with a 2 million dollar bounty on her life. Why? intimidation. Our government has been studying us well and they probably fear another revolutionary or many revolutionaries similar to her will come through. Don’t ever forget how fearful our government is of intelligent black women.

(via chauvinistsushi)

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"One of the most radical things you can do is to actually believe women when they talk about their experiences."

— Anita Sarkeesian (Anita Sarkeesian shares the most radical thing you can do to support women online | The Verge)

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hopeydopey526:

furrylittlepeach:

In The Woods by Furry Little Peach
Finished painting & progress shot (Adding final details)

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pussylipgloss:

sickomobb:

don’t mind my doc marten suede grey goat hair oxfords

sorry some of my beard wax for my curly muscle man mustache is sliding down into my mouth its ok its made from real honey comb wax i dont even mind the taste

pussylipgloss:

sickomobb:

don’t mind my doc marten suede grey goat hair oxfords

sorry some of my beard wax for my curly muscle man mustache is sliding down into my mouth its ok its made from real honey comb wax i dont even mind the taste

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Kid Cudi Photographed by Alexei Hay for Esquire Magazine, 2014

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dynamicoceans:

Adelies by mickellr on Flickr.