Saturday, June 25, 2005

What's the real problem?

Also from the New York Post:

June 22, 2005 -- More than one-quarter of all subway MetroCard swipes have failed since the MTA kicked off its fare-card program, according to a report by the city Public Advocate's Office.

The report, which will be made public today, also says that nearly half of all swipes fail in low-income neighborhoods, said Anat Jacobson, a spokeswoman for Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.

One of the worst stations to swipe the cards is the 116th Street stop on the B and C lines in Harlem....

Neysa Pranger, campaign coordinator of the Straphangers Campaign, said the MTA should do a better job making sure MetroCard readers work properly.

"Part of the problem is people who just begin to use MetroCards have higher cases of miss-swipes, so the longer the program is around, the less you will have that problem," she added.

Gotbaum's report, "Stuck at the Turnstile," is to be released two days after the City Council's Committee on Oversight and Investigation issued a report critical of the cash-strapped MTA that said more than half of the city's subway stations are filthy — and the dirtiest are in some of the Big Apple's poorest neighborhoods.
So what are they saying, that the MTA is so racist that it puts more faulty machines in bad neighborhoods? And how can Neysa Pranger blame the equipment in one breath, then people in the next?

Is it also surprising that the poorest neighborhoods have the filthiest stations? It's not from a lack of cleaning. It's because they have greater numbers of drug addicts, alcoholics and vagrants, who'll litter the subways and use them as bathrooms.

As a daily passenger on the NYC subways, one who's used subway stations from Wall Street to Pelham Park, I can safely say that MetroCard readers have no more trouble than retail stores' credit card devices; I've actually had more trouble getting my credit card read at a certain Metro-North ticket machine. MetroCards have a magnetic strip, so take care to swipe flat. I frequently see people who are clearly in a rush, swiping over and over, but they hold the back corner so elevated that they'll never get a good swipe.

The MetroCard was a great idea. Tokens were just disgusting, especially when you consider that "turnstile jumpers" would pour battery acid, soda pop and even urine into the slots.


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