Top 10 Subway Bullsh*t

  1. Heat (or lack of AC): Can’t we poke some holes in the ceiling of the train lines to allow more ventilation?  Is it that hard to do?  And I’m sure there’s a way to do it and keep the rain out at the same time.
  2. Security: Well, there isn’t any.  Random cops sometimes standing around talking to each other is security?
  3. Lack of Cameras: When I get mugged (it’s only a matter of time), I want it caught on film.  All you privacy freaks, get over it.  Your face on camera while you wait for the train is not an invasion of your privacy.  Cameras in the bathrooms, maybe.  But since there are hardly any bathrooms, it’s not a problem.
  4. Lack of Wireless Service:  Honestly?  It’s almost 2009.  Get on the stick.
  5. MetroCard: The MetroCard was a good idea up until 1999.  Now it’s time for something better.  A pocket EZPass?  Swipe your cellphone?
  6. Giving Money to Panhandlers: If everyone stopped giving money to the bums on the train that claim “their papers got lost” and “they got mugged at the shelter” and “that apologize for the interruption,” they would stop begging on the train.  They simply would go somewhere else to make a buck.  I’ve seen the same 3 or 4 bums pitching the same exact story for years now.
  7. Strollers: Nuff Said.
  8. MTA: Pretty much everyone in charge over there.  Especially the ones in charge of the books.
  9. Electronic Message Boards: Nuff Said.
  10. Bitching About Our Bitching: If you have a problem with our bitching, that’s ok.  We’d love to hear about it, but SUBWAYblogger is here to stay.
Now it is time for you to add #11, 12, 13, etc!  Post away in the comments.  Get the list going.  Tell a friend.  Check the little box under the submit button to find out when other people reply.

Auto Refill MetroCard

Anyone have the new automatically refilling MetroCards that the MTA released a few weeks ago?

It works like an EZPass almost.  You fill it up with $40, then when the balance gets low, it automatically refills itself (aka charges your credit card).

Sounds convenient if you are a pay-as-you-go rider.

As you know, SUBWAYblogger is a monthly unlimited user.  Unfortunately, this program doesn’t work for those cards.  I wish it did.  Just bill me the $81 and call it a day.  Then again,  I guess that’s sort of how TransitChek works.

MIT Kids: Turns Out We Have Our Own Hackers

Thanks though!

Wouldn’t you know it.  Just as the MTBA up north digs into their own issues with computer geeks hacking the CharlieCard, it turns out we have our own homegrown hackers right here in NYC.

I had written a post wishing the MIT students would come down here and beat up on the Metrocard system, but it turns out there was a few guys that already hit the jackpot…a $800,000 jackpot as a matter of fact.

Apparently, three guys discovered a vulnerable Metrocard machine at Penn Station that they somehow got to spit out cards.  They would then sell the rides.

However, it looks like they started the scam back in 2005, and it’s taken this long for them to arrest the guys.  An audit revealed the discrepancy, but who knows how long that took to uncover.

Metrocard Problems Part Deux

Wow. Even Metrocards can be sexy.
Wow. Even Metrocards can be sexy.

Well, the Metrocard drama seems to have continued today, and still no explanations.

Paul J. Fleuranges, the chief spokesman for New York City Transit, the arm of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that runs the subways and buses, declined to speculate on the cause of the breakdown, but said “it was a systemwide outage affecting all or close to every” of the 2,245 machines. He characterized the problem as unprecedented in its magnitude. [NY Times]

Unprecedented.  Wow.  That’s greeeeat to hear.

It’s apparently a breakdown in network communication between the MTA’s system and the company that actually does the credit card processing.

Rumor has it that some people were actually charged for a Metrocard even though the machine said it was unable to process the transaction, and no card was dispensed.  So check your statements people!

Photo edstern

Metrocard Machines Take the Morning Off

A Metrocard mechanic cleaning some parts of the machine.
A Metrocard mechanic cleaning some parts of the machine.

Did you try to buy a new Metrocard this morning between 8:30AM and 10:30AM?  Hope you didn’t try to pay with a credit card, because the machines weren’t taking them.

For unknown reasons, dozens if not hundreds of Metrocard machines stopped taking electronic payments.  Not a big deal if you were going for a $2.00 ride.

However, if you were in the market for a new $82 unlimted card, chances are you didnt have that dough burning a hole in your pocket.

The issue seemed to have replicated itself again around the afternoon rush.  I did see an especially long line at the machines this afternoon.

I guess this is what happens when you are still using Windows NT in your systems.
I guess this is what happens when you are still using Windows NT in your systems.

Around 6 p.m., at one entrance to the Times Square station, signs on the vending machines indicated that they were not accepting credit or debit cards, and a station agent opened the exit gate and ushered passengers through without making them pay.  [City Room]

Can you just imagine all the sea of confused tourists flocking to the token booth?

The Price of Being a Cheapskate Just Went Up

NYC Subway Turnstile

Ever thought of just jumping the turnstile when your Metrocard stopped working for some unknown reason?  You know you have plenty of cash/rides left on it, so it must be something wrong with the machine.  So screw it, just jump over and move on with your life.

Well, that little maneuver is going to cost you a lot more if you get caught.  The price of bouncing over the bar is now one-hundo ($100), and the new price kicked in Monday.

It used to cost you $60, but apparently that was too affordable for the homeless guys and neighborhood teens that just jump over without even a hesitation.  So upping it to $100 ought to do the trick.

They even have a special division of court that handles fare jumpers, called the Transit Adjudication Bureau.  Aka TAB.