150 Minutes On Hold For Metrocard Replacement

Jessica writes:

I lost my 30 day unlimited MetroCard over the holiday weekend. Happily, a friend told me the MTA will replace it if it was purchased with a credit or debit card, which it was. However, since calling the handy replacement number on the MTA’s web site for THREE DAYS IN A ROW and holding anywhere from 100-150 minutes each time, I’m not so sure. Have other people in New York dealt with this? I understand the MTA is probably like your average DMV when it comes to efficiency, but this is just plain ridiculous. My lunch money is dwindling with each $2.00 trip to–and from–work.

That’s one to cut the cost of replacing metrocards – never pick up the phone. Our best suggestion is that she outsource this job to India. It’s not just for Fortune 500 companies, you can use a company like Brickwork and pay someone $4/hr to sit on hold for you. For a $76 unlimited use subway card, it could be worth it. We’ll let you decide, however, whether listening to the MTA hold music is more or less cruel than paying them cents an hour to pour manhole covers.

(Photo: Ben Popken)


Edit Your Comment

  1. DavidS722 says:

    I’m sure your credit card company would deem all that hold time a “reasonable attempt to settle with the merchant” and refund your money.

  2. snazz says:

    ive never heard of them replacing the card, but ive gotten my credit card refunded for the remaining days when i lost my card. this happened twice and both times i only waited like 5 minutes or less for a rep to help me. one time was the friday before the xmas weekend and i didnt have any problems.
    i called 1-212-METROCARD

  3. freshyill says:

    Don’t even bother. I did all the right paperwork and sent in my card that stopped working one month, and then they said I didn’t include the card with the paperwork. So fucking shady. I’m sure some jackass just didn’t want to do his job on their end. This was over a year ago, and I’m still pissed at the level of incompetence they displayed.

  4. kerrington.steele says:

    I agree with Snazz — I think they just refund the difference, based on a formula that credits you with like $2.50 for each day left on your card from the day you report it missing. you can only do this twice in like a 12-month period. I’ve done it once and it was not a hassle at all — but the office is only open like 10-4 on weekdays, so you might have to leave a voicemail, which I did and got a call back early the next Monday (I know, shocker!). are you sure you called the right number: 1 212 METROCARD?

  5. neithernor says:

    I called earlier this year and while they did put me on hold, I was done in about 10 minutes. The refund took about 3 weeks to process, but I still got it… I’m not disputing Jessica’s story, though. Maybe I was the exception that proves the rule.

  6. ETRANGER says:

    There is nothing to worry about, even if it takes you a few days to get through to them, they will ask you when it was that you first called them, and will refund your money based on that date. Has worked perfectly for me in the past.

  7. ripthorne says:

    I never had a problem with them. I misplaced my card once and called them up, talked to them for less than 10 minutes, and within a few days my credit card was refunded the pro-rated charge of the days left on my monthly card.

    Sounds like maybe they are just busier, or bad luck.

  8. Hoss says:

    there must be a consumerist NY forum?

  9. JKinNYC says:

    My wife had no problem getting hers credited back. They are just going to credit you, so you can go ahead and buy a new one.

  10. DallasDMD says:

    Chargeback. You did your part by trying to work with the merchant and they failed you.

  11. arisuNYC says:

    I’ve done it before, I waited 10 minutes on hold, dealt with a pleasant and helpful associate, and had the refund within a few days. To avoid the hold, call early in the morning, and learn the phone shortcuts.

  12. Slothrob says:

    If they’d left a voicemail on the first day, they would have gotten three extra days credit. The MTA credits you from the first day you contact them. Your voicemail counts, waiting on hold and never talking to anyone doesn’t.

  13. Slothrob says:

    Also, if your budget is that tight, maybe you should be brown-bagging your lunch?

  14. aparsons says:

    Call 311 and bitch at them. I lost a metrocard and called really early in the morning and was only on hold for approximately 5 minutes.

  15. tokenblackgirl says:

    Thats odd, the last time that happended to me, it took all of 5 min and i got the money back in my account in 3 days.

    Even i was shocked.

  16. FLConsumer says:

    @Hossofcourse: Nah, The Consumerist has always had a NYC-centric viewpoint, mostly because that’s where Ben Popkin lives and where many of the commenters are from.

  17. Kelleah says:


    Brownbagging her lunch wouldn’t change the fact that the lack of a Metrocard is affecting her budget. That extra cash she’s spending everyday is cutting into the groceries she would buy to bring her lunch into work everyday. Your budget doesn’t have to be tight to realize you’re losing money.

  18. stubblyhead says:


  19. kc2idf says:

    Well, if it is any consolation, CDTA (the transit authority in Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties upstate) has a very simple replacement policy for lost Swipers (our local equivalent to MetroCard): No replacements. It says clearly on the card that if you lose it you are SOL.

  20. mexifelio says:

    *** My response is number 76 in que… Please continue to hold and it will be revealed to you shortly.

  21. truebluegeeks says:

    hmm, i called and got mine replaced in 20 minutes…try calling in a off peek time, i think its a 24/7 line. granted this was 2 years ago, maybe times have changed.

  22. algormortis says:

    For what it’s worth, and i know this doesn’t work well for most people, i’d just go see the folks at the Jay Street admin building. When my 30-day mysteriously stopped working, the gentleman gave it his best try and ended up passing me a $10.50 valued card (this was when the subway was still 1.50…get off my lawn, you kids!) and promised me i’d have a replacement of 3 7-day metrocards and a check for the lost day within “three or four days.”

    Three days later, replacement.
    They might not be the nicest people and Jay Street is the other side of the universe if you live in Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, SI or even much of Brooklyn…but they get it done.

  23. spinachdip says:

    As a point of comparison, my DC Metro Smartrip card stopped working one day. When I told the station attendant, he gave me a postage-paid envelope to send the card in. A week later, I got a new card with the the same $60 balance as my old one. I understand the procedure is pretty much the same for a lost card.

    My suggestion for the OP? As others have mentioned, you’re going to get a prorated refund, so just get a new unlimited Metrocard.

  24. andanotherthing says:

    if you’re expecting a long hold time with one of those labyrinthine computer voice systems…when prompted to choose english or spanish, choose spanish. you’ll always get a person who speaks both languages just fine. I’ve never had to wait more than minute for an actual human to handle my issue.

  25. mattbrown says:

    can you not go to an MTA location and speak with a CS rep? Like Penn, or grand central?

  26. Mentally_ILL says:

    I’ve had to do that twice in the last four years.

    The first time I spoke with a customer service rep and finished up within 10 minutes.

    Recently in September I called too early in the morning and left a voicemail. I didn’t receive a call back until a month and a half later.

    Maybe they are having staffing issues lately?