Today’s topic is about another subject that has become a passion of mine because it deals with “the world’s best public transit system” NYC transit.
Welcome to THEJNSREPORTS MTA Etiquette 101.
For many of us “straphangers” riding the bus and trains on a daily basis is the same as breathing. In other words we need it to live and go about our daily routines. Without the MTA system many people could not afford to get to and from work and/or school.
The city would be at a halt because while there are taxis most people can’t afford to take a taxi every day everywhere they need to go. That being said, there is a growing problem that is not just due to the economy and inflation,which of course is threatening the working class even more so than those who live below the poverty line.
Here are some of the major problems I see with the transit system starting first with the ever increasing MTA costs for those like myself and many others who buy the monthly metro cards vs single ride fare buyers and the nonpaying public .
COSTS AND WHY I BELIEVE THEY ARE INCREASING
The number one reason I believe costs are constantly increasing with the MTA (outside of corruption) is because many MTA employees simply don’t enforce fare collection. Fare jumping is harder to do when referring to the subway and it’s toll booth operators who are in decline, simply because more often than not fare jumpers are more likely to be caught hopping a turnstyle by police in plain clothes or uniform than say on a bus.
On average, I’d say from my very own experiences that MTA buses are where a large majority of revenue is lost. New York City is the city that never sleeps, and it runs on people’s energy hustling and bustling to and fro especially during “Rush Hours” of the work week.
Often times bus drivers are overwhelmed with the number of students and adults alike who are on their way to work and school. During this mad rush of customers some feign ignorance about how to place their metro card into the card reader.
Once they hear the beep that the card is no good or there is no sufficient funds on the card to pay for their ride they look at the bus operator as if in total shock. I sit observing trying not to judge but often times am not able to help myself wonder if these people see themselves.
One knows (especially if you don’t have money) how much money one has on a metro card if it’s in fact one’s own card and whether or not it’s a monthly unlimited or weekly unlimited every time that card is swiped. It is even displayed when that card expires.
Further more, if it’s a non unlimited card the dollar amount is displayed when swiped as to how much is left so keeping track should be a simple enough task to handle. To wait at the bus stop the entire time knowing you don’t have the fare and then play the game of “Oh my card doesn’t have money on it, I didn’t realize that” is one of the most basic and patently stupid displays I’ve seen over and over again on a daily basis.
Once again, referring to common sense in Bar Etiquette 101, if you don’t have the money to ride the bus or the train even with the free 2 hr transfers, then walk to where you need to go. It may suck but that’s the price one has to pay if he/she can’t afford the fare.
In one instance a man and his girlfriend board the bus and the woman goes ahead of him and takes a seat while he attempts to pay the fare for the two of them. No other passengers board the bus after the two enter yet the man stands near the bus operator and searches through his wallet for damn near the entire trip acting as if he is trying to find either coins or a metro card.
I’m sure he’s thinking that both the bus driver and the rest of us fare paying passengers are idiots believing he’s actually wanting to pay the fare for himself and his girlfriend. It was an absolutely ridiculous scene to watch this grown man pat his pockets over and over and search his wallet for the millionth time knowing he had no money but not the guts to say so.
By the time we got to the stop that the two wanted to get off at, the bus driver called the man out on it saying “Hey man don’t play with me. You and I both know you didn’t have any money. Instead of standing here and playing this game the whole time searching for what we know you don’t have, why don’t you just man up and say hey, listen I’m strugglin I don’t have it can I get a ride to where I’m going?”
You see that at least shows that one has some character and humility. Simply asking for a free ride is often better received than a blatant disregard for doing what’s right and paying the fare for use of the system.
The problem arises when that gesture is abused over and over again. And it’s done by man, woman, and child alike. The kids learn it from their parents and peers and think it funny because they aren’t the ones being directly impacted by those thefts of service.
This is not to say that I’m not sympathetic to the struggling poor who may simply just not have the money to pay the fare every day but I see it as more egregious and unfair for those like myself (the backbone of the economy) the working class who do the right thing and pay their fare for use of the system, to see people outright lie or just cheat the system for no other reason than they think they are entitled to and there is no consequence for their actions.
It doesn’t occur to this segment of the population that someone else has to pay for their theft. Ultimately what has happened is that the someone else’s are the customers who buy the monthly unlimited metro card.
This has been the case more so in the outer boroughs of the city than say Manhattan but still this occurs all throughout the transit system. Here’s another example of what I see on a daily basis.
A group of kids will wait at the bus stop and while some actually have a bus pass provided to them because they are low income they ride for free by simply swiping the school provided passes, then on the other hand a large group of kids without passes wait till the back door to the bus is lit and opened by exiting riders or simply pull the doors open and enter the rear of the bus while the bus operator has to pay attention to those who come in through the front entrance to the bus.
It’s easiest to get away with this during rush hour again because the bus operator is one person and he/she would rather let a few people get over not paying than to anger an entire bus full of passengers who are depending on the operator to get them to their destinations while keeping as close as possible to the posted route schedule times provided on public bus stop posts.
There have been times where I’ve noticed the driver actually aware of this but willfully turn a blind eye because he wants to avoid any stress inducing exchanges. On the flip side I have also experienced a bus operator refuse to drive the bus until one or two people who didn’t pay their fare are pointed out by fellow riders or get off the bus which is tantamount to extortion because again for those of us who pay our fare we’re through no fault of our own then delayed because of the selfishness and the theft of services of others.
What makes the situation even more untenable for the fare paying public in these instances of non fare paying riders is the fact that there are those who display expensive clothing and cell phones but not the $2.25 it will cost them to go where they need to go.
How backwards is that? I say if you can find the money for a new pair of Jordan shoes, or designer jeans or an iphone while yapping incessantly out loud about nothing of importance simply because you’re “hood” and want to be heard talking then you can find the $2.25 that includes a free transfer. It’s basically repugnant Maggot behavior period.
MTA SERVICE AND THE CUSTOMER
Now having addressed how revenue is lost, lets turn our attention to yet another problem with the MTA. As stated earlier, in order to cover the costs of lost revenue due to its employees failure to enforce fair collection, the MTA in its wisdom has decided the best way to combat this problem is to pass on the costs to the unlimited card buyers which is unfair in my opinion.
I’ve listened to and participated in conversations with MTA bus operators and toll booth clerks who have explained the rationale behind the fare increases as necessary. They say it’s because with the unlimited cards there are clever folks who apparently found ways to abuse the unlimited by waiting the allotted time for the card to be able to be swiped multiple times at the same location in order for say an entire family to ride for the cost of a single ride.
When added to the revenue losses of outright non paying riders the problem is amplified. The MTA decided to increase this allotted time to make it harder on those who would use this approach but I’ve actually seen it where a family will wait well over an hour at a station passing the metro card back one after the other until everyone has entered using the one card.
This is not to say I personally would stay and watch the alotted time elapse but I’ve seen the card being passed back over the turn style and the mother wait with her children while the father waits outside the turn style till he is able to swipe the same card again.
That being said, I tend to believe that most of the purchasers of monthly or unlimited cards don’t wait at a station trying to wait out the time it would take to pass the card to another person but the point is taken that because the potential for this abuse to occur exists, steps have to be taken to curb it.
Perhaps a reasonable deterrent would be to raise the time it would take to be able to swipe the same card again after it’s initial swipe at the same location to a full hour vs increasing the price of the card itself.
In addition, on the bus routes where they know clearly ridership is high, why is it that the MTA won’t assign the large double buses to those routes and the smaller single buses to the routes that clearly have less riders on them?
One route in my neighborhood in particular that clearly needs this is the #27 bus route in the Bronx. It makes absolutely no sense that this hasn’t been corrected in forever and the fact that I can on almost a daily basis see two, three, and sometimes even four of these single #27 buses come back to back in the span of a minute.
Sometimes they come bunched back to back. Clearly the bus operators are not adhering to the scheduled post times and are actually loafing on the job. If it’s the dispatchers fault for these colossal blunders then someone needs to say hey guys instead of having so many drivers that can’t even keep a schedule, lets deploy the double buses to accommodate the larger amount of riders waiting to get on the bus.
The biggest complaint most of us riders who depend on these buses to connect to the subway in order to get to work is that these bus operators when they know they’ve messed up take it out on the riding public by rudely turning on their “NOT IN SERVICE” Banner on the front of the bus or they display the “NEXT BUS PLEASE” and zoom on ahead leaving dozens of us out in the proverbial cold, wondering what the hell just happened?
With all that said, I have ZERO sympathy for these MTA Bus Operators who complain about their jobs when they make a better living with benefits for doing basically nothing half the time while others suffer because they abuse the cracks in the system in how they operate.
They should have GPS on these buses if nothing else to prove to us riders and themselves that the bus operators are on schedule and if not where they are and how long we as waiting paying customers can expect to wait before they show up.
The count down clocks that NY finally saw as a great idea that San Fransisco’s subway system has had for decades is one of the better ideas they’ve implemented in a long time. I mean in the one city where a minute goes by like that, this should have been a forethought not an after thought. I guess it’s better late than never though.
In my opinion MTA service has declined to a point where the typical MTA customer is lumped together with those who don’t pay as just one big pool of users that should be content with whatever level of service they get.
Frustration, anger, and resentment are exactly what they (MTA) should expect when service quality takes a back seat while fare hikes get passed under little to no public hearing or review. And while I can recognize servicing the public is at times a thankless job it is a job where providing high quality service is a prerequisite especially in lieu of increasing fares.
I remember when the MTA first instituted the metro card and unlimited cards were$ 63 dollars a month. Today that price has increased all the way to $104/month. When you consider the first increase raised the price from $63 to $70 and up from there to $76 followed by $81 to $89 and then the massive increase to $104.
To have fares constantly increasing and yet have so many service delays, reroutes, redundant default PA announcements about train traffic when clearly there is no train traffic and until recently no clocks letting the passengers know when they could expect the next train or bus to arrive only exasperated the situation even more.
Then compounding the fact that you take into account that an expected travel time from one locale to another is X number of minutes but can’t be relied upon because the bus operators decide to show up when they want to and roll right past an already waiting and expecting public who depend so heavily upon their arriving on time.
I’m surprised there haven’t been riots on the MTA headquarters. Having been a victim of this countless times, frustration would be an understatement to say the least, when it comes to how customer service is perceived by the riding public. And for me I exclude the nonpaying because they riding for free in my opinion can’t have it both ways.
You keep your mouth shut when you ride for free if the bus is late. You let the bus operator have it when you pay for on time service and they have scheduled times posted and its not adhered to routinely.
To make matters worse, when you do manage to get one of these buses that’s clearly running behind the posted schedule and ask the bus operator the reason for the delay, usually you’re met with an attitude of disgust and rudeness.
One case where even though I was mad because of the bus being late, which in turn made me late for my appointment that day, another rider asked the bus driver why he was late and the bus driver replied “Hey if you don’t like it don’t ride the bus. Come earlier”.
I almost gagged right there in complete shock. Excuse me you asshole (was my thought). How dare you be late and then not even care that his lateness had a negative impact on the people paying for the service he’s being paid to provide on time.
The now more than pissed off rider responded “Listen, you don’t tell me if I don’t like it don’t ride or come earlier. If you’re late you should comp the ride and apologize for not being on schedule. I have to get to work and you being late has now made me late.
I bet if your check was late from the MTA you’d be in the office raising hell about your check being late. Well, you’re making my check late!!” To me that was far nicer a reply than the bus operator deserved.
He then told the bus operator he wanted his name and the number to file a complaint. The bus driver refused to tell him the info. It didn’t really matter to me if he gave the guy the information he demanded because I could see all one would have to do is take note of the bus number on the upper right hand side of the bus at the front entrance, the route, and the time of day and perhaps glance at the badge number on the drivers uniform then call 311 and make a complaint.
Can you imagine what would have happened to that employee had he been working for a private company and spoke to a paying customer in that fashion? In the words of the Donald “You’re Fired!!”
PASSENGER TO PASSENGER COURTESY
Next up is what I like to call caring about your fellow man/woman and being considerate of your fellow straphangers. Too often at times I find that the average bus or subway rider is so absorbed in being selfish that its almost sickening to think that human beings run the world.
Case in point. I have gotten on buses numerous times where there are row after row of fat fucks or just selfish ass people who decide they should be the only ones to have a seat while they are on the bus.
Seriously row after row of double seats where the person sitting sits in the aisle seat and places either their bag or food on the adjacent vacant seat as if to say they paid for use of both seats when they boarded the bus.
And god forbid if one should ask them to excuse them and let them sit down, one would think the person was just asked to give up a limb or an organ. Again it’s absolutely repugnant maggot behavior. I’ve seen young guys and girls alike who see an elderly person or disabled person enter the bus and essentially ignore them, act as if they don’t see them, or have to be yelled at to give up their seat by either the bus operator or a disgusted passenger who recognizes this hideously selfish behavior. Why are we as people so messed up?
There is virtually no difference on the trains in this continued selfish behavior. You board a train and idiots stand blocking the door way of the train instead of moving into the center of the train where there is clearly more room. Again I ask why? Are they allergic to actually having common sense.
Sometimes, I tend to think they actually are not human at all but blank drones that must be programmed continuously and consistently in order to get the most basic and common sense things done. Move all the way into the car people!!!
Then you have the douche bag guys and girls alike who sit down where three or four people could have a seat and decide they need to spread their legs as wide as possible so as to prevent someone else from sitting down next to them.
And lets not forget the Maggots who actually have no home training and actually place their legs up on the seats as if they’re at home reclining on a lazy boy. I mean where does anyone get off thinking that (assuming they even paid their fare) they are entitled to take up more space than their very own physical dimensions.
And speaking of dimensions, I believe the MTA truly does need to look into charging large morbidly obese customers double the fare for taking up double the space. I mean I can’t even begin to count with this country’s growing obesity epidemic, the times I’ve been just so disgusted to enter a bus or train car exhausted and see someone who’s clearly lacked any facet of discipline to control their enormous size to the point that they literally take up 2 and a half seats.
Some actually have the unmitigated gall to look at you for looking at them in disgust! WTF!!!? In an alternate universe I’d have the police dole out as many tickets as they could just for these people being so fat. I don’t care if it sounds mean or insensitive because clearly that’s the problem.
People want to be nice and sugar coat the fact that someone has eaten them self into that disgusting condition and want everyone else to ignore the obvious “Great Elephant” in the room, their enormous size. I say instead of sitting down it’s these same people who need to stand the fuck up literally and burn some of those 1,000,000 calories they’ve accumulated.
I remember once years ago while on my way to Bowling Green Station I was sitting in an end seat of a number 4 train. There was clearly enough room for two people to sit I had one half of the seat and there was space for the average adult to sit next to me.
At about 3 to 4 stops before reaching Bowling Green a large black woman entered the train car and looked around. There were a few open seats around the car but for some reason this woman decided she wanted to sit next to me. I remember thinking “Oh my god no!!!! She has to know that both she and I can’t fit in that seat together.
I thought she has to know that she won’t fit and should look elsewhere. Well folks, I’m here to tell you I was wrong in that assumption because this huge woman came right to where I was sitting, mind you I was sitting next to the railing attached to the seat.
This big bitch forced her enormous self into the space next to me and the impact of her slamming herself down into the seat literally with her pressing against me sent me leaning over the railing of the seat with my ribs being crushed against the railing. I couldn’t believe this was actually happening.
She on the other hand seemed unphased and content that she had managed to sit down. The entire car began to laugh at the scene that had just unfolded. I managed to squeeze myself free and just stood looking at her in disgust before I got off at Bowling Green Station.
Pure selfishness and greed. If she hadn’t been so fucking fat it would not have bothered me that she wanted to sit down, but it was the fact that she actually disregarded the fact that I was a human being and she and I could not coexist in the same seat due to her globulousness.
Globulousness defined: The physical state of being an enormous glob. Also see having the shape of a globe. Globular: beyond rotund, disgusting girth, morbidly obese, also see EH. LOL EH: Acronym for Enormous Humongous. Simply put there are two things that must occur here. 1) Stop eating so damn much and get a healthy normal size portion of food when you do eat. 2) GET YOUR FAT ASS UP AND EXERCISE! LOL I jest in excess here but seriously the obesity epidemic that’s growing in this country I see every day using mass transit. It’s very sad.
GREED AND CORRUPTION
Now onto probably the most basic reason for increased costs, greed. Greed by MTA higher ups and greed by MTA employees who are contracted to work on projects that should have a shorter time frame to complete but are dragged out for the sake of having a job and making money indefinitely.
One night while waiting for a train going uptown during the renovation of the Atlantic Ave station in Brooklyn, I over heard two MTA crew members talking to each other on the platform near the tracks where some other crew members were working.
The two were discussing how long the project should take and where the crew was in the project. To my surprise one crew member said something to the effect of “So how long before the job is completed?” To which the other crew member replied “Hey, the kids gotta eat and go to school.”
I took that to mean clearly while there was probably a deadline for completion of whatever rehab job they were doing, there was obviously some chicanery going on as far as dragging the job out longer than necessary in order to accrue more hours of pay and over time. Sad and scandalous but this is the world we live in. Everything is about getting over on the next man. Either way ultimately any extra costs to any rehab projects gets passed onto the customers and there you have it.