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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Train Ride to the Complaints Department

Welcome to the 6th floor.

Today's contributors are: Sara, Tabitha, Frank, Billy

Subject: Local Train to the Complaint Department

“Ugh!” Sara says, tossing her bag on the counter as she arrives home. “I hate the MTA.”

“What’d they do now? You get a ticket for having your feet on a seat or something?”

“It was a combination of things really. It just led to a bad day. It started by my 30-day Metrocard running out without me realizing it.”

“So? It happens every 30 days right? How surprising could it be?”

“Well it wouldn’t be a surprise if I’d remember when I bought it, but I forgot to make a note of it, and I guess the month went by faster than I imagined. Some warning would be nice you’d think? Like if you had less than 24 hours left on the card? You listening Billy?”

Billy looks up from watching tv. Huh? Yeah, a warning would be nice I guess. I don’t know, mine doesn’t expire.”

“Well aren’t you just so special! You have to be able to do something at work. Put in a suggestion or something.”

“I’m just a worker bee. I have no more say than you do. I guess the card readers just aren’t set up to display that information. You do know they expire 30 days from first use right? So you can buy a second one anytime and just pull it out of your wallet when the first expires?”

“Really? I didn’t know that.”

“Oh. Well still, a warning would be nice. The thing has to compare the current date to the expiration date, so it wouldn’t hurt to display the difference.”

“Well, the subway often seems no frills. It’s better than a lot of other places though.”

“No frills? Kind of like Billy’s cooking.”

“So I like simple foods. Nothing wrong with that. Why do I need sun-dried tomatoes in my pasta or fancy cheese on my burger?”

“Fancy food can taste good too. Another thing, would it be so hard to allow me to refill my 30-day Metrocard? It wouldn’t have been that big a deal, it only would’ve cost me a minute if the machine had decided to accept my credit card. Of course it decided not to be able to read it.”

“I get that a lot too actually.”

“Did you try a little sugar?”


“Yeah. You know, be nice to it. Treat it well. Maybe you were rude to it and it decided not to accept your card out of spite.”

“So I’m supposed to what? Flirt with it? Oh Metrocard machine, you’re so pretty! Here, let me clean the stray Metrocards off your head. There, isn’t that better?”

“Yeah, that should do it.” Frank says, laughing.


Anonymous said...

hahah, hey you never know. a little flirting can get you a long way.

although i've only ever been to new york twice, i remember thinking the subway/trains seemed so incredibly ghetto compared to virtually any other city i've ever been to in the world. although the tube in london was pretty bad too, given that it breaks down every 3 minutes.

but in japan? forget about it. this place seriously has the best trains/subways in the world. never late. (almost, except for that time last week where the conductor got "explosive diarrhea" and they had to evacuate the train:


but anyway, yeah, always on time, incredibly clean, relatively cheap, super efficient, and goes everywhere you could ever want to go. you seriously never have to wait more than 3 minutes for a train in the middle of tokyo.

best of, the subway cards here - like the octopus cards in hong kong - have wireless non-contact IC chips inside - so you just wave it close to the turnstile and you can go in, and it automatically deducts from your account. you can recharge it at any machine, and you can even use it to buy food and drinks from vending machines and convenience stores.

the latest trend is integrating these chips into the mobile phones (which already have tvs and music players + internet browsers in them) so then you just need that one device for all your commuting needs.

perhaps you should tell the MTA to head over to japan for a little research trip? :/

btw, i saw this comic and thought of your plight:

Sara said...

haha. Yeah, I love Alien Loves Predator. One day I'll get to Japan and all. Our subways work nicely, and they do go a lot of places and run 24/7 but often times it seems like they never push for that extra conveniences. A couple of the lines actually announce when a Train is coming, which is kind of cool.