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What to do if you’ve lost an item on New York City Subways or Buses

Updated Jan 8, 2021

1. Items don't immediately make it to the Lost and Found.

If you recently lost something, check these places first before contacting Lost and Found:

  • If you lost an item it in the subway system, talk to the station booth agent nearest to the location where you lost the item. If someone turns in a lost item to a station agent, it remains at the booth pending transfer to Lost and Found.
  • If you lost an item on a bus, call 511 to see if your property is at the bus depot. Articles lost on a bus or turned in to a Bus Operator are delivered to that bus or driver’s bus depot. We hold items at the depot before sending them to Lost and Found.
  • If you lost it on the Staten Island Railway, check in at the St. George Terminal. We hold lost items there before sending them to Lost and Found.

2. We'll ask you to describe the lost item in detail.

We'll ask you to describe the lost item in detail. A description is needed to prevent people from trying to collect items that aren’t theirs. Some MTA representatives may need approval from their supervisors to release lost items.

3. Complete a lost property receipt.

If a local MTA representative determines we have your lost item, you’ll need to complete a lost property receipt. We will need your name, address, city, state, and zip code. We also need valid identification that matches the information written on the receipt. That could include a driver license, NYC ID, passport, job or student ID.

4. File a claim with Lost and Found.

If the local MTA representative didn’t have it, you should file a claim with Lost and Found. You can file a claim in two ways:

5. We'll contact you if we can.

If we have items that match your claim we will contact you via the email address you list in your claim. If lost property has a telephone number or address on it, we will use that information to try and contact you. We'll do that even if you haven't filed a claim.

6. Check the status.

You can check the status of your claim by calling 511.

7. Pick up your item.

Once we confirm that we have your item, you will be asked to make an appointment to pick it up at the Lost and Found office. You’ll need to bring identification and fill out a lost property receipt. You may again be asked to provide a detailed description of the item to prove it's yours.

8. Item storage

The amount of time we hold on to items varies based on the estimated value of the item. We hold items for at least three months and at most three years. If no one claims property during the retention period, it is auctioned, and the proceeds help fund MTA service. Property in poor condition is sent for disposal.