Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Lying Lies of the MTA

Living in New York City as a non-millionaire means learning to navigate the public transportation system in some form or another. And this means having to constantly adjust one’s weekend plans to account for service disruptions.

But while the Metropolitan Transit Authority that runs our trains and busses asks for passengers to plan ahead, it doesn’t inform its own employees or even provide accurate information during service disruptions. In fact it actively spreads misinformation during service disruptions, which makes things worse for everyone.

Example: More than once now I have seen MTA subway conductors tell people to transfer to the J train at the Fulton Street station during weekend service disruptions, when the J train doesn’t run to Fulton Street on weekends even when there aren’t service disruptions.

“You can’t take the J train from Fulton Street on the weekends,” I told one conductor on a Brooklyn-bound F train after he told people to take the J from Fulton Street. He had even misspoke once and told people to take the J train from Jay Street in Brooklyn, and the J train goes nowhere near that stop.

“I’ve been doing this 30 years! You’re going to tell me how it is?!” was his reply.

Also, the automatic subway announcements that inform passengers as to what trains they can transfer to at the given stations are not changed during service disruptions, and feed misinformation to passengers. And regular signs will lie to you also. For years, the signs at the 34th St. A, C, E station tell passengers to use the center platform for “All A train service” when the A train usually stops on the local platforms between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Don’t expect this to get better any time soon. MTA workers are now working without a contract and their union leaders are in a pissing contest with the city. The MTA is always short on money as well and is constantly cutting service and raising fares.

So make sure you get confirmation from multiple sources of information before you take the MTA’s word on anything.

It still makes more sense to ride the subways and busses, because driving in the city can be a real nightmare, but public transit is quickly catching up in terms of aggravation.

1 comment:

Helen Griffin said...

The worst? go to 44th and Madison at 4PM any weekday.. and see a ton of car service cabs waiting (along with a bunch of limo's.) and who are they for? MTA management (the muckity mucks work in there.

MTA management never takes the subway/public transport...and really don't care how well it works (or doesn't work)