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I'm a bit confused here.

I recently went on a trip to NYC. I took a 7-day Metro Pass (no express), since I was there for 5 days.

It seems that on the third day, I took an express train on accident. I thought I was screwed or something, but it seems nobody bothered checking my MetroCard, and on the way back nothing eventful happened.

So I'm curious. If most of the train lines don't even bother checking if you have express or a regular farecard, what would be the point of getting a MetroCard with Express? It seems nobody bothers checking people's farecards or anything, and though the thought of taking the express line from that day forth was tempting, I decided against it, and just took the local trains.

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    @Relaxed I'm not sure whether you noticed my answer, but MetroCard Express has nothing to do with express subway trains, which have no additional fare.
    – phoog
    Apr 11, 2016 at 22:00

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The "Express" here is for express buses, which serve parts of the "outer" boroughs that are not well served by subways. These buses have a higher fare.

Express trains in the subway system do not have a higher fare. Your fare card is checked when you swipe it in the turnstile to enter the system. Once you're in, you're in. You can stay as long as you like and ride as many trains (express or otherwise) as you like.

Why didn't you just ask someone on the platform? You would have learned very quickly that you could take the express trains.

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  • So I'm curious. If there's no difference in fare for the subway, is it okay to take an Express train regardless of what MetroCard pass I have?
    – yuritsuki
    Aug 18, 2014 at 23:02
  • Exactly. See my revised answer.
    – phoog
    Aug 18, 2014 at 23:02
  • Also, one thing. I was hesitant to ask other people because each time I got on the train, it seemed more people took the local trains over express, so I assumed express was reserved for those with Express metrocards. I guess it's also because I'm painfully shy
    – yuritsuki
    Aug 18, 2014 at 23:15
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    @thinlyveiledquestionmark Express trains, by definition, skip intermediate stops. Presumably wherever you boarded at whatever time of day, most people were headed to one of those intermediate stops, and thus had to take the local.
    – choster
    Aug 18, 2014 at 23:20
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    @choster Alternately, especially for shorter trips in Manhattan, in many cases the difference in travel time between an express and a local is negligible, and people will just take the first train that shows up headed in the right direction. Aug 19, 2014 at 0:08

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