As of late, you’ll notice that the MTA has given New Yorkers odd-change “bonus” increments that come with buying varying values of MetroCards. Thirty extra cents? What can a subway rider do with that? Some NYU students have a solution called MetroChange, which would enable New Yorkers to donate their remnant fares to charity.

green design, eco design, sustainable design, Metrocards, MetroChange, NYU Interactive Communications Program, Ardunio

In reality, the unused MetroCard amounts, which don’t quite add up to a full fare, total up to $52 million a year. That’s $52 million that New Yorkers have spent, that basically goes into the garbage (but really goes to the MTA). Students at NYU’s Interactive Teleommunications Program thought that these monies could be distributed better- to needy New Yorkers, rather than back in the pockets of the MTA.

Their solution, MetroChange, is a kiosk much like the MTA uses to check your card’s balance. Each swipe is connected to Ardunio, a transmitter and receiver that is hooked up to an ethernet connection. Like the MTA’s kiosks, MetroChange will then tell the user just how much is left on their Metrocard. Instead of going to the card machines to add more funds, card holders can then press a button to transfer the funds into an account that will be distributed amongst several to-be-determined charities. To sweeten the deal, the MetroCards are then kept and recycled!

With a prototype complete, MetroChange was debuted at ITP Winter Show. They are currently looking for organizations to partner with in order to make MetroChange a reality.

+ MetroChange