NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The MTA said riders will now be able to fill their MetroCards with both unlimited-ride time and pay-per-ride dollars.

The change will allow New Yorkers to avoid a $1 fee on new card purchases, which will begin March 3.

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Interim Executive Director Thomas F. Prendergast called it “the most flexible MetroCard ever offered.”

“We produce almost 160 million MetroCards each year at an annual cost of nearly $10 million. Many of the cards often end up as litter in the system, so by refilling your MetroCard, you’ll reduce expenses and help the environment,” he said.

The MTA said a MetroCard that has both a dollar value and unlimited ride time will use the unlimited time first.

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“If you have $5 in value remaining on your MetroCard and you decide to add time to it, say for example a 7-day unlimited pass, the next time you use your card, it will activate the unlimited rides on that card,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz told 1010 WINS.

The change will especially help riders who carry unlimited MetroCards but also take express buses or PATH trains.

The MTA said there are three simple rules for refilling your card:

  1. When you purchase a 7-day or 30-day unlimited ride pass, it will be activated the next time you use your card.
  2. As soon as you’ve activated your pass, you can refill your card with a second one, of either duration, to be used after your current pass expires.
  3. You can refill your card with a pay-per-ride value at any time. It will be available for use whenever there’s not a pass on your card.

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