21 October 2007
Dear Overheard on the Subway,
This weekend, it's true, the MTA had to make some service adjustments so they could perform trackwork. In order for the work to get done, uptown trains had to skip 50th, 59th, and 66th Street stops. If, like me, you were trying to get uptown from 50th Street today, this was an inconvenience because it required going downtown for a stop to 42nd Street, whereupon transfer to an uptown train was possible.
What galls me is not that MTA was doing work, but rather the way a fellow subway rider was discussing the service changes with the lady standing next to her.
Rider 1: You have to go downtown a stop, then transfer and come back uptown and get off.
Rider 2: I know, but I don't have time for this.
Rider1: Nobody does, but they don't care about that.
Lady, you're an idiot. Of course we're all inconvenienced. And it sucks. But where you're wrong is that the MTA doesn't care.
The subway line we were riding on is 103 years old. Anything that's 103 years old requires some amount of maintenance to keep it in good working order, and that doesn't happen by magic. It's unreasonable for you to expect infinite and uncompromised train service (and a subsidized ride) without allowing vital attendant maintenance to be performed on the system. Which would be worse: having to adjust your trip, or getting stuck in a subway tunnel for 6 hours because work was neglected?
Maybe we can schedule all track work between the hours of midnight and 5am, causing workers to strike but no service issues for you! Even better, work can be done while trains run, and when a train is approaching workers, the conductor can ring a cowbell signaling his approach. Or maybe the city can loan us all gold-plated hovercrafts driven by monkey chauffeurs that will zip us to our destination without a care in the world.
Do you honestly believe that they want to be dropping millions of dollars on track work and constantly adjusting train schedules? Tighten up and stop expecting it yesterday.