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Honestly, I don't know why you'd need the monthly pass ones unless you had a job somewhere away from campus that required subway travel. I haven't spent $80 worth of $2 metro-swipes in a month, so you'd probably be better off just paying by the ride.
a single ride is 2 bucks,
Basically, if you find yourself riding more than three times every day (including weekends) you'll definitely save with the unlimited card. It's important to note when factoring this that you don't have to swipe during in-station transfers between trains.
Edited to add: when I originally evaluated these costs the unlimited card cost $76. I've noticed the city tends to up the price on the unlimited cards every so often whereas they try to keep the tourist-oriented single rides at a nice, even $2.
Yeah, my main point was that the monthly unlimited card is definitely useful, contrary to what a lot of posts here state.
unfortunately that is no longer the case....the MTA's new proposal is to increase the base far as high as $3 and the monthly card to $105! I personally don't think they'll go that high....it'll probably end up at $2.50 a ride. This increase is scheduled to happen in June btw.
At the beginning of every semester I just tack on another $40 bucks to the metrocard and I usually run out by the end. You won't be leaving campus often enough to justify a monthly pass.