If the impending MTA fare hike is putting a strain on your pocketbook, this is one way to recover the difference.
EBay and Craigslist users are reselling MetroCards branded by the streetwear designer Supreme for as much as $1000 — four days after the limited-edition item was made available for purchase at the company's flagship store in SoHo and one day after the MTA announced their sale via machines and tellers at select subway stations.
Now vending in select stations: Supreme branded MetroCards pic.twitter.com/ah2kmT0laA— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) February 20, 2017
The cards are a collaboration between the MTA and Supreme, a streetwear brand with a flagship store in SoHo, a worldwide cult following, and a distinctive red and white logo. The MTA has been selling ad space on the back of its cards since 1995 and on both sides since 2012.
Transit passes branded with the Supreme logo and loaded with two fares, worth $5.50, were first released Friday at Supreme's store on Lafayette Street as part of the label's Spring/Summer 2017 collection. On Monday morning, the MTA loaded a limited quantity into vending machines at several subway stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, for purchase at average MetroCard prices.
The agency's announcement of their sale on Twitter sparked a frenzy among trendy Millennials and teenagers, who lined up at and swarmed around machines — periodically loaded with limited quantities of the branded cards — in the hopes that chance would dispense them a golden ticket.
lol i found the supreme metrocard line. there's one dude at the front buying em all up pic.twitter.com/Nl4W1jV1zT— darlene alderson (@sadwhitegrrrl) February 20, 2017
Savvy opportunists purchased more than one card, auctioning them off online at markups between $20 and $955.
Eating dumplings & overhearing LES teenagers discuss the potential resale rates of Supreme MTA cards at least the weather's great— Sarah Solomon (@sarahsolfails) February 20, 2017
I heard the Supreme Metrocard got resold for the price of the 2nd Ave line.— ☕️ (@iamdjtreats) February 20, 2017
What kind of person might buy a card for 181 times its listed value?
"I don't judge how anyone spends their money on eBay," MTA spokeswoman Beth DeFalco said when asked to weigh in.
DeFalco declined to comment on the specifics of the agency's advertising deals, but officials told the Daily News in 2012 that brands were paying between 18 and 51 cents a card, depending the number printed.
On Twitter, some New Yorkers questioned the priorities and budgeting of a government agency promoting its advertising campaign:
@NYCTSubway does this advertising stop prices from rising?!?!?! Because if not who cares.— Anna (@Anna_Anna_Belle) February 20, 2017
@NYCTSubway you guys should like.... do something relevant to people that travel in NYC. Like cut costs of a metrocard ride.— syl3nt_m4rtyr (@cold_rice32) February 20, 2017
City Council members and advocates have been calling for Mayor Bill de Blasio to subsidize half-price subway and bus fares for low-income New Yorkers, but the mayor's office says the MTA is Gov. Andrew Cuomo's responsibility.