The Brooklynite Who Brought the Joys of A Transit Countdown Timer Into His Home

Categories: DIY, MTA, Technology

Ian Westcott
Westcott's own personal, magical, countdown clock.

When it comes to mass transit, the only thing New Yorkers really care about is punctuality. We'll elbow onto a packed bus and huff a stranger's armpit for thirty minutes -- and we'll do it gladly -- if it means we get to our destination on time.

But to do that, we need to know when that bus or train is actually going to arrive. That's why there's something magical about a countdown timer.

A 2011 MTA survey found that transit stations featuring countdown timers -- with their soothing, authoritative glow -- increase customer satisfaction in mysterious ways. Survey respondents liked the stations with timers better, but they didn't know why.

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Public Advocate Tish James Is Very Unhappy About the MTA Taking Ads From "Unlawful, Illegal" Airbnb

Image via Public Advocate's office
A scandalous Airbnb ad in Penn Station.
Once again, rental site Airbnb was back in court yesterday with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office, fighting allegations that the site is running illegal hotels (and, by extension, not paying its cut to the state in taxes). The company won a mini-victory yesterday, after a federal judge ruled that the AG's subpoena for information on all Airbnb hosts in New York state was overly broad. According to the Washington Post, though, the AG is not to be deterred, and plans to simply rewrite the request in a more legal way.

So Airbnb isn't off the hook by any means, and now, to top things off, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is in a spot of trouble too, merely for running their ads. New York City's Public Advocate Letitia "Tish" James wrote a stern letter on May 12 to Tom Prendergast, who heads the MTA, demanding to know why the authority accepts advertisements for an "unlawful" service. Just to drive the point home, she compared Airbnb to a site that advertises escorts.

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Geometry Car Had Not Inspected New F Train Rail Before Derailment

Categories: MTA

MTA via Flickr

The MTA is still investigating what caused a F train carrying almost 1000 passengers to derail in Woodside, Queens a week ago--injuring 19 passengers, 4 of them seriously--but investigators have identified a few clues that may hold the answer.

The section of track where the F went off the rails last Friday was only installed a matter of weeks before, at the end of February, and the section had not yet been inspected by the MTA's geometry train.

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F Line Tops The List of Subway Lines With Preventable Delays

Categories: MTA

Otto Yamamoto via flickr

On the heels of a terrifying derailment that left 19 commuters injured--four of them seriously--on Friday, comes a report confirming, yes, subway service has definitely deteriorated in the last two years. The F line, where Friday's derailment occurred, tops a list of train lines with the most delay-causing problems.

According to an analysis by the Straphangers Campaign, delay-generating "incidents" in the subways jumped 35% between 2011 and 2013. An incident, says Gene Russianoff staff attorney for the advocacy group, can be "a mechanical problem, a switch that doesn't work, police activity, sick passenger -- it's sort of the litany of bad things that can happen to you or your train while you are traveling."

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Updated: MTA Unamused By Guerilla Shia LaBeouf Advertising Campaign

Categories: MTA

Tessa Stuart
An MTA worker removes an illegal advertisement promoting Shia LaBeof's Twitter account.
"Oh, that's cute," an MTA worker said, noticing for the first time an ad installed near the southwest stairs at the Bedford L stop on Wednesday morning.

The ad, a four feet by five feet black and white collage, features the heads of Shia LaBeouf, Picasso and God (as imagined by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel fresco "The Creation of Adam") pasted on to women's bodies, alongside LaBeouf's Twitter handle and the hashtag #TheCureForCelebrity.

The worker muttered under his breath as he peeled the poster from its frame, then pried its frame from the tile wall, revealing an ad for the Red Bull Music Festival beneath it. He confirmed the ad was installed illegally.

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Five Injured After MTA Bus Crashes Into Washington Heights Pizzeria

Image via NY Scanner
An out-of-service northbound M5 MTA bus crashed into a pizza parlor in Washington Heights this morning, injuring at least five people, including the bus driver. The accident occurred around 7:45 a.m. at Broadway and 154th Street; the photo you see above was taken by the NY Scanner Twitter account after the FDNY arrived on the scene.

You might also notice a very battered-looking minivan in front of the bus. ABC News reports that witnesses saw the minivan try to cut the bus off, leading to the crash. Never try to cut off a bus, guys.

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MTA Would Prefer You Stay Off Subway Tracks and Not Drive Your Car Onto a Train

Image by Twitter user @BKSHOSHANNAH
Someone drove their damn car right onto a Q train this morning, an action the Metropolitan Transportation Authority recommends you avoid. Really strongly recommends it. They're quite stringent on this point.

Nonetheless, as DNAInfo was first to report, a lady in an SUV "plowed through a fence near Albemarle Road and East 16th Street" in south Brooklyn around 5 a.m. today. The fence created "a kind of ramp that allowed her to settle her front tires atop the train," an action that was captured in the delightful photo you see above, by insta-famous Twitter user @BKSHOSHANNAH. Shosh snapped the photo at 7:30 a.m., meaning that getting a car down off a train is apparently rather difficult and may take several hours and quite a lot of inconvenience. Who knew?

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Good News, Everyone: Commuting by Bus in Brooklyn and Queens is Now a Little Easier

Categories: MTA

An busboard announcing Bus Time in Brooklyn in Queens, photographed on Monday.
Commuting by bus in the wilds of Brooklyn or Queens was filled with less uncertainty than usual this morning, as GPS trackers on Sunday debuted on every damn bus in the boroughs, completing a citywide project introduced more than two years ago.

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The MTA Will Be Disciplining the Station Agent Who Gave Everybody the Double Middle Finger

Video by Jonathan Pillot; screenshot via.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is very unhappy with the man you see above, a station agent at West 4th Street who apparently reacts to the frustrations of his job with exuberant double-fingered salutes.

Manhattanite Jonathan Pillot shared a video of the agent to his Facebook page; it shows Pillot and the agent, who the New York Post reports is named Stephen C. Herbert, mid-argument, after Pillot says he witnessed the agent behaving rudely towards an elderly woman.

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MTA Plans To Phase Out MetroCards, but First: Super Bowl MetroCards!

Categories: MTA

Super Bowl Sunday is drawing near, and the first indication is the commemorative cards an MTA vending machine near you is spitting out.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority has printed up one million Super Bowl edition MetroCards in all -- 250,000 each of four total commemorative designs, accounting for more than a quarter of the cards printed and distributed this month.

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