Limited Edition MetroCards Making The NYC Subway Cool

In New York, a special collaboration between the city’s transportation authority (MTA) and hyped streetwear brand Supreme has created extra long waiting lines and delays at several subway stations. An unknown number of limited edition Supreme-branded MetroCards, the MTA’s transportation card, were released at a few subway stations across the city.

The MetroCard is part of Supreme’s Spring ’17 collection, released last week and causing long waiting lines at the brand’s stores in New York. The @NYCTSubway Twitter account broke the news and within a few hours it followed up with a list of locations that were selling the cards. These were, unsurprisingly, located around the corner from Supreme’s NY store in SoHo. The account also responded to inquiries regarding the cards, mentioning that the majority of the two-fare passes could be purchased at the machines, and a limited number would be sold at the booths. Neither Supreme, nor the MTA announced how many cards have been made available, only stating that demand was high.

The hype surrounding the cards is part of Supreme’s low-cost marketing strategy. According to the MTA’s publicly available advertising rates, printing a logo on the front and back of 50,000 cards, costs a brand only $112,500. Supreme specializes in buzz-creating collaborations and limited number items previewed in teasers and mailing lists little in advance. Nearly all Supreme items end up in the reselling market, on sites like eBay with extremely pumped prices. A limited edition brick from their Winter ’16 line, literally a brick with the brand’s logo, went for up to $1,000 on eBay. The Supreme MetroCard, which costs $5.50, like any regular 2-ride MTA pass, is already going for more than $100 on eBay.

The MTA has been selling advertising space on MetroCards since 1995. This week’s hype-worthy collaboration was coincidentally timed at an interesting time, though. It has given the MTA and New York’s subway a very ‘cool’ and hip branding at a time when many New Yorkers have proudly been deleting their Uber accounts, making it visible on social media. The trending #DeleteUber hashtag reportedly led to 200,000 people deleting their accounts, in response to several controversies surrounding the car-hailing giant. Although you might wonder if the New York subway is really competing with other transport means, often being the most convenient mode of transit in NYC, this collaboration has definitely given the aging public transport system a much needed fresh face and hype to come along with it.