A Letter from the President and the Big F's

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has posted the results of the 2nd Rider Report Card and the B Line received an overall C grade from just 2,203 commuters. Everyone else was probably too busy running from the rats. (According to Gridskipper, Washington, D.C. may have their political rat races, but we’ve got the real deal.)

While it is normally a good thing that the MTA is concerned about what riders think of the NYC Transit Authority’s service, this survey appears to be just false concern. In his summary letter, President Howard H. Roberts, lists the top ten priorities that B train riders are looking for when they ride the subway.

Read more about how the MTA Rider Report stacked up.
The Rider Report Card main page with the Letter, Ratings, and Improvements Wanted Most simply lists the results of the survey. There was no information about how the MTA plans on improving service.

The Brooklyn blogger, known as Chicken Underwear, at What You Do Not Know Because You Are Not Me noted the mess that is created by what he says is just, basically, a waste of paper.

I can suggest one hundred better ways that the MTA could have spent the money they used to run this survey. Here’s one: compensate those people who have had items stolen from them on the subway. (Later, you’ll see why I chose to mention this one out of the hundred ways.) That would be a great way for them to start building some good will and you can bet that if they had to pay out every time someone got robbed, that the MTA would do something drastic to reduce this sort of crime.

The report card doesn’t bring out anything new that we all don’t already know. In fact, this is not a report card at all, but is merely a rider perception list. If the MTA heads wanted to know what riders feel or perceive, they might just try riding the subway. For $2 and a couple of hours spent riding to various destinations all over the city (including every borough) they could have gotten all the information they needed.

But, maybe they are too afraid to take the subway themselves. I can completely understand that. When I had my iPhone stolen on the B train a few months ago, I went through secondary victimization when everyone told me that I’m not supposed to “display” my cellphone. Does anyone know a class action lawyer willing to help out?

Fear of having their PDAs ripped out of their hands may be one of the reasons why some MTA officials don’t want to take the subway to get a real perception of what it means to be a NYC subway rider. Whatever the million reasons they have for not wanting to use the subway every day, they seem to have no clue about what the riders think (hence, this useless survey).

I guess they are, also, not reading the endless blogs, news articles, complaint letters, police reports, and phone logs that are coming into their offices each and every second of the day.

These “report cards” do not list any information about improvements that will be made. There is no mention about changes or goals to be met. There’s not even a “we want to improve our service, so that you can be happy” comment!

Like Chicken Underwear, I give the MTA Rider Report Card a big ‘F'(written in red permanent ink). But unlike Chicken Underwear, this F comes from my teacher’s perspective and stands for Failure, not What The F. Either way, we hope the MTA gets the message.

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