Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Metrocard Swipe Malfunction

At the current day job gig, my gym is just half a block away from a subway entrance that takes me to jail-- er, I mean, work. It's a small, three-turnstile side-entrance to a busy Times Square subway hub. I've got an unlimited monthly Metrocard and, as per the new normal, I simply renew the same card each month instead of getting a brand new one and being forced to pay an extra buck for a "replacement fee".

Does a card get a little scuffed after so many months of swiping through machines that are not that well-maintained...?


Fact of the matter is, I've been having a harder and harder time getting through that little side-entrance because of card swipe malfunctions.

Most of you have experienced this.

You swipe your card.

A message asks you to swipe again.

You swipe again.

A message informs you to "SWIPE AGAIN AT THIS TURNSTILE".

Sometimes you get through.

Sometimes you just get a message that says "JUST USED", which is MTA-speak for "FUCK YOU".

(I knew a profoundly untalented hack who used to work for the MTA, as an aside.)

An excerpt from a WSJ article that's a few years old:
... the machines are virtually designed to ruin your day.

For starters, your MetroCard must hit four sensors before you gain admission to the twilight world of the New York City subway system. The first sensor verifies that you're indeed swiping a MetroCard rather than, say, your D'Agostino's Rewards card. The second ascertains that the card is flush enough to afford the fare; the third deducts the fare; and the fourth opens the gate.

"If the card doesn't go completely through the sensor," Mr. Foley explained, "it's not going to work. It's got to be level."

The speed of the swipe is also crucial—it can't be too fast or too slow. The optimum is described rather disturbingly by Paul Fleuranges, NYC Transit's vice president for corporate communications: "a steady swipe—like a punch to the gut."

The problem, of course, is that if the machine balks and the barrier fails to yield, you may feel like you've been punched in the gut, or elsewhere, depending on your height and on how important you believe it is to make the train. "I've seen people double over, briefcase flying," Mr. Foley stated cheerfully.

Perfecting your swiping technique is no guarantee of success. The machines must also be lovingly maintained. According to Mr. Foley, the union man, they've suffered as the MTA has cut back the number of maintenance workers. He says the cut is to 228 from 242 workers, while Deirdre Parker, the MTA's deputy director for public affairs, contends that "the correct count was 228 in 2009 and 224 in 2010."
This is not just a problem with my Metrocard. Tuesday morning, after I failed to get through my regular entrance I watched a number of other people getting the same slap in the face as they tried the same turnstiles. It's a fucking epidemic. And the pain of it is, there's no station agent at that entrance, so you've got to exit and cross the street to the main entrance to find an agent who'll let you through.

So... you've done a search and you've stumbled upon this blog entry. What's the solution to this problem, New York City...?


Blood in the streets. Anarchy. Fucking warfare.

Are you just going to accept this inconvenience, New Yorkers...?

I think not.

Paint the turnstiles red, New York. Send a message to the MTA, wrapped in napalm.

Don't do this for me. Do this for YOURSELF. Do this for the future. Suffer NOT under the tyranny of the Transit Industrial Complex... become the tyranny.


Anonymous fedup890 said...

Don't forget to RSVP!


2/05/2014 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger M. Alice said...

I almost left a comment but realized my name would show.

2/05/2014 07:07:00 PM  

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