The keys allow unfettered access to the subways, which enable transit workers and others to ride the subways for free, which is the prime perk associated with the keys, which have been purchased for as little as $27 apiece.
A Bronx man who had one of the illegal all-access subway keys - until cops stopped him one day - lamented Sunday that he now has to pay to ride like the rest of us.All the security in the world can't thwart a determined terrorist who manages to get into the transit system, especially when they have a key that can pretty much unlock any entrance into the system.
"It was a good deal," said the man, who agreed to be interviewed only if his name was not printed. "I saved a lot of money. Now I got to pay every trip."
The key, which should only be in the hands of authorized transit workers or police and fire officials, unlocks swing gates next to every subway turnstile, granting easy - and free - access to all platforms and trains.
The 25-year-old said he bought the copy of the master key from a transit worker for $50, but a copy of the universal key could be had for as little as $27, the Daily News learned.
The man's key was seized when police saw him charging straphangers discount rates to let them through the security gates.
The worker was very solemn when he handed over the prize.
"Don't get caught," the worker warned.
For the most part, the man said, he used the key only to snag free fares for himself, by opening up the locked security gates near the subway turnstiles.