Mailing it in


Metro-North Monthly Pass

Like a lot of commuters, I get the $130 federal commuter “benefit”, allowing me to have that huge sum of money taken out pre-tax to help buy my nearly $400 monthly train pass.  It isn’t a lot of money but at least it is something.  My hope is Congress some day gets its act together and returns it to the 2013 level of $245.  I mean, the parking benefit is now written into law at $250 which I am not going to comment on other to say the parking benefit is written into law at $250.

In the meantime, all of us lowly train dwellers with our $130 firmly in hand like a two year-old’s blanket, drag ourselves to the ticket window or machine each month to purchase a monthly pass.  My $130 is loaded to a debit card which, in theory, should make it quite handy.  The problem is Metro-North does not allow you to use two cards to make a purchase at the window or the machine for monthlies.  For all of us who rarely carry cash, it is either one card and write a check.  Look, I know Dave Ramsey wants me to use only cash, and pay off all my debts by delivering pizzas and starting my own Etsy business but I’m not there yet.  I would like to use two cards.  But, if that’s your policy, that’s fine.  I hear you Metro-North.  You’re a public benefit corporation established by MTA (with Connecticut) to own, operate, and/or manage suburban commuter trains a little more than 30 years ago that has made a strategic business decision to not get hit with credit card fees twice on the same purchase.  I get it.  As Bill O’Reily might say, “Just looking out for the folks!”  Or, maybe the computers system just is not up-to-date. It’s fine.

Oh, wait.  What is that Metro-North website?

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 10.03.20 PM


If you participate in the Mail&Ride on the web program, you can pay with two credit/debit cards  If the Metro-North Mail&Ride program can, why can’t the rest of Metro-North?

It is probably a different computer system that handles the transactions.  It is a separate group somewhere in Kansas or Guam mailing commuters monthly passes each, um, month.  Oh, wait, I’m sorry what is that?  The Mail & Ride program has service windows at Grand Central.  So, the people that take two credit cards work right next to the people who can’t, for the same railroad.

Mail & Ride Windows at Grand Central Terminal

Mail & Ride Windows at Grand Central Terminal


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