Are Unlimited Ride MetroCards A Good Deal? Not For A Lot Of People Who Use Them

via Consumerist by Meg Marco on 7/16/08

The New York Times had an article today about the 10 year anniversary of the unlimited MetroCard and how it has transformed way people use the subway. They even included a graph that showed how many times people are using their cards in a month. What they didn’t mention is that a lot of people are buying the card and not hitting the “break even” point of 46 rides per month. Hmm.

For those of you not familiar with NYC’s MetroCard system, it works like this: If you buy individual rides, after $7 you get a 15% bonus, making your ride cost $1.74 instead of $2.00. The unlimited card costs $81. So to “break even” you’d need to take about 46 trips within 30 days, or 1.5 trips every day — even on weekends. Obviously, there are a lot of people using unlimited MetroCards when they would be better off buying trips in bulk. Why are they doing this? Who knows. Maybe they don’t have to pay for the cards themselves. Still, it’s a lesson that can be applied to “unlimited” deals of all types. Make sure to do a little math before you buy an unlimited pass.

Subway and Bus Fares [MTA]
In Decade of Unlimited Rides, MetroCard Has Transformed How the City Travels [NYT]
It’s the distribution, stupid [frumination via BuzzFeed]

Picoo Z Mini-Copters improved, three new models are more controllable

via DVICE by Charlie White on 2/8/08


Who needs to fly an actual personal helicopter with all that danger when you can vicariously fly a Silverlit Picoo Z that’s about the size of a deck of cards? They’ve been improved, flying forward now instead of just going up or down. Before, all you could do to get them to go straight ahead was bend the tail rudder a bit, place more weight on the front and hope for the best. Get out of the way! We were dodging these things coming from every direction here at our Midwest Test Facility, frustrated by their borderline controllability.

These should be more satisfying to fly. Two of the new models have a three-channel infrared remote that actually lets you control forward and backward movement. The best of the bunch is the $79 Picoo Z Tandem Z (pictured top), a dual-rotor Chinook-style copter. The $59 Picoo Z Atlas (left) also has three-channel control but with a single rotor, and looking a lot like its Picoo Z predecessors we flew here but about half its size is the $59 Mini Micron, which is redesigned to simply go forward all the time rather than the constant hovering of the original Picoo Z.

All are able to stay in the air longer, too, capable of a 10-minute flight after a 20-minute charge, about 30% longer than we’ve been able to fly the previous models on each charge. There are plenty of three-channel mini-copters on the market, but all are bigger and a lot more expensive than these Picoo Z choppers. With their newfound controllability, they’re certainly worth a try.

Red5, via GeekAlerts