Hey, for my fellow New Yorkers: Ever been bugged by a bunch of extra subway cards that you can’t do anything with because they have some odd amount of change on them, or because they are expired? They seem to pile up and are wasted money, because the MTA vending machines don’t allow you to combine the money on several cards. They only allow you to add money to your existing card, which in many cases may be on its last legs or damaged (unlike BART machines, which allows you to combine and issue new cards). The MTA sort of counts on this inconvenience I suppose, because they raise many millions of dollars every year from unused fares.
Fortunately, I discovered recently that you can get old cards combined at any manned booth. You still have the risk of dealing with a surly booth person whose tv watching, phone calls or newspaper reading you are surely interrupting with your petty service needs, but it can be done. They will, however, only combine four cards at a time, requiring you to go to another booth to combine more. (At least that was the story I got from the ill tempered man at the booth at 16th street the other day) So at the end, I had recovered about 30 bucks from expired or small change cards, not bad at all.