Change for Positive Change

MetroChange’s Take on Penny Lane: Donating Value from MetroCards

Special Collections: THE ECONOMY OF LIFE



(Chie Inoue /

If you’re a subway-savvy New Yorker, the following should ring a bell: you’re on your way to work, meeting’s in 35 minutes sharp, you swipe your MetroCard, and - zilch - you need to recharge it. But you’re too busy and distracted, and you think - there’s just 79 cents there, I’ll get a new one and get on with it. And with a fresh new card in hand, you toss away your old one, along with the worthless 79 cents.
Worthless? Really?
Did you know that the lost value of Subway cards stands at a staggering $52M?
What if something really valuable could be done with this hefty amount?
Enter MetroChange: a fresh start-up that put up kiosks at Subway stations across New York, where MetroCards can be swiped to transfer their value to one central fund. The accumulated donations are transferred to charity once a month. MetroChange’s rise from a brilliant idea to a now much-covered reality is nicely documented in their blog.
We’re having a Eureka moment here: this is so simple and genius, how come no one thought of this before?

Special Collection