Is It Permissible to Use a Metro Card for NYC Transit?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I have a question about buying a metro card. I am from New York City and here we have something called the MTA, which stands for Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It’s a transportation system. Like buses and trains. We have to pay a fare for each ride and instead of cash we use a metro card that we put money on.   But there is one thing that I have been having doubts about. There is a rule that after every $10 dollars we put into that metro card, we are given a bonus of 7% into the card that we can use for the fare. Keep in mind that we can’t take money out of this card. It can only be used for fare. I was wondering if we are allowed to take this 7%. We could only use this 7% for fare. Nothing else. Another thing is that, when we use the bus or train, the usual fare we have to pay is $2.25. We get onto the bus and pay $2.25, and then it takes us to the train station or the next bus we have to catch. We get off. And then when we go into the train station or the next bus and we slide our metro card, we get a free transfer. Meaning that we don’t have to pay the fare again since we paid on the other bus. But this free transfer lasts for 2 hours. After that, it expires. Is this allowed? Like am I allowed to use this benefit? The fare remains $2.25 whether or not we transfer onto another bus/train or not.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

These and similar discounts/rewards are permissible since the transaction is not direct ‘money-for-money’, but rather there is a service being provided [transportation], and the provider is simply giving various discounts or rewards for a particular method of payment [the Metro card].

If the transaction were direct ‘money-for-money’, such as with bank accounts, then one may not take any rewards. [Maydani, Lubab]

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani