Smartcard vs. Metrocard for PATH Service

smartlinkmetrocard_199x125So I’m back on the PATH – Hoboken to 33rd Street and I got to wondering, which card makes more sense.  No really, which one’s the better deal. There has to be one winner since it’s always about the NY / NJ rivalry.

The NYC Subway costs $2.25 per ride. The PATH costs $1.75 per ride. If we’re looking at raw costs not considering discounts and transfers, it costs 29% more to ride the Subway vs. the PATH.

Speed –

Now, if you ride the PATH between New York and New Jersey, you have the option to use either a PATH Smartcard or a NYC Metrocard. Each has some interesting benefits. The Smartcard uses a touchpad to get thru the gate, which honestly saves you time over the swipe or insert Metrocard.


Refill –

While both allow you to fill up at the station, the Smartcard allows you to fill up online as well or with an automatic refill feature (you set the limit).


Discount –

Metrocard gives you an additional 15% when you buy something like $10 or more on a card. Smartcard gives you a discount on a PATH ride from the normal $1.75 down to $1.35 per ride if you use the Smartcard.

Doing the math – if you take 20 rides on the PATH, you’d get 1.67 extra rides by using the Smartcard method.


It really comes down to how many cards do you want to carry around. If you’re doing the PATH to the Subway, I’d probably just get the Metrocard and have one. Forget the discount, it’s just not that big a deal.

Then again, if you’re PATH only, the Smartcard is actually cheaper AND faster.

Am I right?

You tell me.

2 thoughts on “Smartcard vs. Metrocard for PATH

  1. Read your post. Thanks for the info. Can’t believe that you can’t by a Smartlink Card at the PATH station!!!!

    You actually have to go online, pay an additional $5 bucks to get one, and then wait 5-7 business days to get it.

    Kindof makes the Metrocard a no brainer!
    Where’s that money savings gone now!

  2. how does the monthly metrocard fare in the equation? I have to take the path and then the subway to work 5 days/week.

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