MetroCard Basics for School Staff
- MetroCards must be distributed based on the current eligibility of each student
- Record the serial number of the MetroCard provided to each student
- Deactivate and replace lost, stolen, or non-working MetroCards quickly
Full fare and Special Ed cards for students in grades K-6
Full fare and Special Ed cards for students in grades 7-12
- Full fare and Special Ed cards are valid on MTA Subways and Buses (not valid on Express buses)
- Half fare cards for students in grades K-12 who reside close enough to school to walk are green
- Half fare cards are valid only on MTA buses: the student is responsible to pay half the current fare and may only transfer to another bus
School staff distribute student MetroCards at the beginning of the fall and spring terms each school year. MetroCards are distributed based on eligibility calculations. You may not distribute a MetroCard to any student also using yellow bus transportation, or provide MetroCard that does not match the current eligibility of the student.
Four Trip MetroCards
Each student MetroCard is programmed to provide three trips each school day, each trip with one transfer. Three trips allows a student to travel from home to school, from school to an after school activity, and then from that activity to home. If a student tells you their trip to school requires the use of three buses or two buses and a train: you may email a request for a four trip MetroCard. Visit the MTA web site and use the MTA Trip Planner to identify transportation options:
- Enter the student’s home address and the school’s address: click search
- If results confirm the trip requires three buses or two buses and a train, request a four trip MetroCard through OPT via email, including the trip planner information and the student’s name
Special Program MetroCards
Special Program MetroCards are two-trip cards meant to provide students with travel home if their program ends after yellow bus service is available, or if they leave school during the day to travel to other programs. Cards are distributed to students each day they attend their program. Schools record distribution using a log, documenting each student who receives a card. These cards are not assigned on student ATS records. Use Program Exception Application to request Special Program MetroCards for students attending approved programs including Saturday academies, PM school and internship or work study programs. Principals should use the program exception application to request Special Program MetroCards for students attending approved programs including Saturday academies, PM school and internship or work study programs.
Principals may purchase gold two-trip MetroCards for a variety of uses, including transportation for parent/teacher conferences and school events, by placing a purchase order through FAMIS. OPT staff receives the purchase order electronically and processes these orders for delivery to schools by courier service or for pick up at OPT, as indicated on the purchase order.
OPT also handles the exchange of expired gold two-trip MetroCards. The MTA/NYCT has advised OPT that exchanges for two-trip gold MetroCards more than one year after the expiration date will not be honored. To be sure there is enough time to process your exchange, OPT needs to receive your expired MetroCards no more than nine months after the expiration date listed on the card.
Schools that need to exchange MetroCards that have expired before they have been distributed and used, can either mail or deliver the expired cards to OPT.
- Mail the expired MetroCards with a copy of the original purchase order to Office of Pupil Transportation, Attention: Awilda Rentas at the OPT address in the Contacts section of this page. Once OPT receives the expired cards, schools will be sent replacements via courier service unless they choose to pick them up at OPT.
- E-mail ARentas@schools.nyc.gov to arrange an appointment at OPT to exchange the expired cards—exchanges are scheduled in the afternoon only. Bring a copy of the original purchase order with you. Replacement cards will be provided.
Schools that purchase large amounts of MetroCards should consider making smaller purchases to limit the possibility of having to exchange large numbers of MetroCards.
F.A.Q.'s - Frequently Asked Questions
What should I be doing when distributing MetroCards?
Record the serial number and the name of the student for each card you distribute, and make sure you provide the correct card based on eligibility. You will use this information later to assign cards and in the event the card needs to be deactivated.