The MTA: A Grand Metaphor for Human Existence

mta_second_ave_subway.jpg
Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin

Sure, you might hate it when your train doesn't show up on time or suddenly goes express and takes you five stops too far. But you have to admit, the MTA is pretty impressive. If only the Senate ran as efficiently and frequently as the subway, it might not have taken three months for Sandy victims to receive their relief funding.

Right now, the subway is not only chugging along beneath the city streets, it's also going through a myriad of changes and improvements. Especially lately, it seems our public transit system is enacting a drawn-out performance art piece about the nature of human existence.

Here's everything that's going down (ha!) down there:

Birth:

The Second Avenue Subway is slowly, laboriously being born. Fun fact: planning for the project started way back in 1929, but, due to the financial chaos of the Great Depression, the total funding for the project wasn't wrested from Albany's tight fists until March of last year.

The MTA just released pictures of their progress, and it's actually starting to look like a subway rather than a bat cave. Gothamist reports that the chaotic blasting methods used to excavate dirt will continue through February -- which isn't very much longer, considering the timeline -- and then waterproofing and drainage-installation will begin. (No word yet on whether they'll ever drain the trash lagoon between the tracks of the 6 train.)

Death:

People keep getting run over by trains, either by choice or by really horrific, depressing circumstances (a.k.a. murder). We told you just yesterday about how the MTA was mulling over a plan to prevent subway deaths by using lasers.

At today's board meeting, which you can watch live on their website, they're also expected to consider whether or not to install safety barriers along the edge of the tracks that would render them inaccessible to the suicidal and the unlucky.

Taxes:

Look out, the fare hike is coming! Today is the last MTA board meeting before the higher prices go into effect, so Occupy Wall Street is staging a last-ditch protest against the increase.

Assuming the fare hike proceeds as planned (which it will, sorry Occupy), you have to start paying a quarter extra per ride on March 1. You also have stop throwing away Metrocards when they get down to awkward, un-spendable amounts of change, unless you want to pay a dollar every time you get a new one. MTA is so demanding!

And don't bother on stocking up on $2.25 cards now -- they'll just charge you the new fare when you swipe them. Same goes for hoarding monthly and weekly cards; they won't be valid after April 9 and March 17, respectively.

Expect this dramatic arc to get even more interesting over the next few months. We're ready to stand far back from the platform edge, relax, and enjoy the show.


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