Ever since New York’s MTA fares were hiked up from a tidy $2.00 to $2.25, New Yorkers lamented the escalating expenses of their daily commutes. But perhaps of greater irritation, these famously efficient city dwellers were now forced to salvage Metrocards worth nickels and dimes, cluttering their wallets as they reluctantly became less inclined to litter their used cards all over the city as they please. Of course, many do so anyway.
But soon, there could better way to discard your card, one that will leave you feeling cheerfully philanthropic. MetroChange is a proposal for a kiosk that will allow MTA riders to donate the pesky leftover funds on their Metrocards to charity. NYU students Stephan Boltalin, Genevieve Hoffman, and Paul May have imagined a friendly, easy-to-use machine that invites New Yorkers to swipe their Metrocards, press a button, donate their chump change MTA credits, and feel the love of their own big hearts. A thin metal slot will even take used Metrocards off your hands for recycling, so you won’t have to Frisbee them into the tracks later.
The students behind the project are currently searching for partners to help realize their proposal. One major hurdle is the fact that the credits on Metrocards are already part of the MTA economy, though their value belongs to MTA riders. The proposal hopes that the MTA can either match the value of rogue funds and donate the amount to charity, or that another institution can take on the same endeavor. While there are clearly some kinks that need to be ironed out, these young designers have good reason to hope that this simple device (and adorable logo) will one day channel millions of dollars into charitable causes.