App of the Week: MetroCalc
If you've been carrying around an old, forgotten MetroCard that has less than a ride's worth of money on it, our App of the Week, MetroCalc, can help you put that MetroCard back to use.
If you visit any MetroCard vending machine and select "refill a card," the machine will tell you how much money is stored on your card. Enter that number into the MetroCalc app. The app will then instantly list all the exact amounts of money you could put on your card in order to end up with a zero balance. Next to each amount you'll see how many rides you'd get and how much of a monetary bonus.
The values to add to the card are listed in 5ȼ increments up to $80, to correspond to denominations that are accepted by MetroCard vending machines.
The app was launched in September 2009. It is designed for iPhone and iPod Touch, and also works on iPad. It was created by Sebastian Maurer, who commutes by subway. "Friends and I had wondered about this problem," he said. "Once we figured it out, it seemed like a nice programming exercise to write an app that we could all use."
The app, which displays advertisements, is free to download. While the base fare deducted is $2.25, the app also works if you plan on using it for rides on express buses that have a $5.50 fare, or PATH with a $2.00 fare. The app also works for those with reduced fare MetroCards for seniors or those with qualifying disabilities, who pay $1.10 per ride.
The app is meant to be convenient for subway/bus customers who are on the go. "It's very easy to pull it out in front of a vending machine," Maurer said.