New York Gritty gets results! Just not the ones we want.
In my last blog, I seconded the MTA Board’s desire to get rid of food on the subways, as did most readers. Naturally, MTA chairman Jay Walder did an about face, saying “I’m not sure a ban on food is really practical or enforceable.”
Hmm…banning loud music or one person using two seats is enforceable, but banning food isn’t? Why the sudden change of heart about food, which attracts rats among other things? Could it be that the MTA realized its platform food kiosks bring in considerable revenue, so maybe candy and cookie wrappers and crumbs on the floor aren’t so bad?
Blog feedback combined with numerous interviews with subway riders indicates that the majority of riders want two things:
1) All food banned on the subways, with the possible exception of a morning cup of coffee in a sealed container, and
2) Cell phone use banned on both subway cars and platforms.
So of course the MTA does the exact opposite. The board not only doesn’t listen to the reasonable needs and desires of its riders, it has disdain for them. Those suckers on the subways! We are above them (literally and figuratively). Most of us don’t even live in your lousy city–so there!
Still you may wonder–why would the MTA do the opposite of what’s in the best interest of its riders? I’ll give you a hint: Have you read/seen All the President’s Men? What were they instructed? Follow the…
Money! The bottom line isn’t what’s good for passengers–it’s what brings in cash. The recent deal to allow AT&T and T-Mobile customers cell phone use on platforms will bring a hefty $46 million dollars to MTA coffers. And if you think this additional revenue will be used to cut or even maintain the fare, you must be new in town.
So where does the money go? Walder’s base salary is $350,000, and the 23- person board takes in an average salary of almost a quarter million each. Do the math.
In addition, most of them have other substantial sources of income. If they would cut their board pay by 20% (to a paltry $200,000 or so each), the MTA could save over a million dollars. What do you think the chances are of that happening?
We all have to bite the bullet, they say. Except them.
In a final absurdity, the MTA has licensed a line of subway greeting cards featuring the logos of the B, C and D trains, among others. For example, Baby Boy Arrives!” reads one for the B line. The MTA gets a 10% cut for each $3.50 card sold.
May I suggest more appropriate subway cards that riders can really relate to? How about: Cell Phone Use is Coming–But Not Your Train! or Dig Into Your Wallets–We’re Raising the Fare Again!