Wonderful news! Cell phones can now be used on six Manhattan subway platforms, and in four years you’ll be able to make calls from every station in New York City, chatting away during rush hour or anytime, 24 hours a day. Thanks MTA!
Hold on a minute–someone isn’t smiling.
“Oh, that’s just great!” growled newstand worker Anthony Saez. “It’s not bad enough I have to hear blabbing on the bus, sidewalk and everywhere else? The subway used to be the only place I could get away.”
Whoa–bad sport! Actually, I came across a number of New Yorkers who were less than thrilled with this development. Most people were fine with the texting and e-mailing aspect, but hearing yakking during rush hour sent some into angry rants against the MTA, who boasted of allowing their customers (at least those with T-Mobile and AT&T) wireless service.
“Bringing this into our subway system is the latest milestone of the MTA’s effort to improve the service we provide to our customers,” beamed chairman Jay Walder, right before lamming it to Hong Kong for a $2 million a year deal with a transit firm there, breaking his six year, $350,00 per year contract here.
I think it’s fair to say the service will provide mixed benefits. Perhaps the MTA should have first taken a survey of its paying customers to see if the majority indeed wanted cell service underground?
Fat chance. Not with Transit Wireless paying the MTA $3.3 million each year for the entire 10-year contract.
But gee, might this financial bonanza mean a reduction in Metro Card prices, or at least a freeze in fare increases? New in town, are you?
What it certainly will do it is guarantee that members of the MTA board can continue to pull in close to a quarter million a year salaries each for their part-time positions. Hey, priorities!
As I’ve written here, Andrew Cuomo wants to put an end to this shadowy, crony capitalism real estate firm operating in the guise of a public transit service system. But the powers that be are dead set against the Governor taking over the MTA. He seems like the kind of guy who wouldn’t put up with these unilateral decisions. Can’t have that!
“I think this is weird–a bunch of people crowded on a platform, on their cells? Maybe off hours, but rush hour? Isn’t it depressing enough down here?,” wondered Laura, a middle-aged woman waiting for the train at the newly wired 14th Street and 8th Avenue station. ” Why didn’t they first make a deal to air condition the platforms? In summer, it’s unbearable, with people passing out from the heat. That’s where I think the money would be better spent, and everyone would be happy.”
Great suggestion, Laura. Unfortunately, no one at the MTA really cares what you think.