HOLY CRAP! The MTA Reprogrammed MetroCard Machines to Zero Out After 11 Rides!

Categories: $$$, MTA, Subways

Village Voice photoillustration
Don't be fooled by those tempting round numbers! Go for the odd one!
Update, 3/23/15, 8:15 p.m.
Fare hikes suck. But see what the MTA went and did? You have to look closely, and you have to know what you're looking for. But the Metropolitan Transportation Authority appears to have reprogrammed its MetroCard machines yesterday, deviating from its default settings, which steer purchasers to buy in round numbers that leave them with worthless remainders when the ride-buying is done.

See that $27.25 button there? The one with the (Village Voice–supplied) big green arrow pointed at it? That's the magic number — assuming you're refilling a MetroCard with a zero balance. PUSH THAT BUTTON! MAGIC THINGS HAPPEN!

Trust us: That's your button. Why doesn't the MTA tell you that's the button to push if you want to make everything come out even? We don't know. But we'll call them and ask.

Original story follows:

This Sunday, March 22, the well-meaning folks at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are poised to louse up New Yorkers' lives by raising bus and subway fares to $2.75 per ride, up from the current $2.50.

For those of us who like to consider ourselves frugal, marginally adept at avoiding being gamed by the system, and socially conscious, the fare hike triggers a two-level reaction.

The first stage of grief: The new fare structure is — like just about everything else in life — unfair to poor riders!

The second stage of grief: I finally got used to putting $19.05 on my MetroCard to keep the MTA from ripping me off with its default purchase options, and what the hell am I supposed to do now that the fare has gone up a quarter and the discount is 11 percent?

Guess what, fellow straphanger: The MTA actually has you covered! Late today the transit agency announced in a press release that it has unveiled a new MetroCard Calculator, "a handy tool that will assist customers with planning a new card purchase or refilling a full fare Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard."

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Hey Girl, Your Train Is Probably Running Really Late Right Now [Updated]

Image via Fuck Yeah Ryan Gosling
Just take a deep breath and focus on that laughable haircut.
Hey, girl. It's really early, the snow has turned into muddy, slippery crunch-ice, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority is reporting delays on the 2, 4, 5, 6, D, Q, J, Z, and N, which is a lot of train lines. It's only Tuesday and this week already feels like a long and hopeless tunnel stretching into oblivion, like a deserted subway of the soul. So, what are we going to do? We're going to explain what's going on here, and then we're going to console ourselves with a two-year-old Ryan Gosling meme. Oh yes we are.

According to the latest from the MTA, there are three separate issues contributing to the morning's delays. The northbound 2, 5, and D are delayed because of "signal problems." So are the southbound N and Q. So is the 6, in both directions for the same reason. One of those mysterious "earlier incidents" at Cypress Avenue is also contributing to the 6's sluggishness. A train with mechanical problems at Broad Street means that the southbound J and Z are terminating at Chambers. That's a lot of problems, girl.

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Go Back to Bed, a Busted Water Main Is Already Screwing Up Your Day

Image via NYCT Subway Scoop
Emergency crews on the tracks near West 4th Street this morning
Good morning, everything is all messed up. Around midnight on Fifth Avenue near 13th Street, a water main ruptured, according to the fire department, which caused massive flooding and just a general sense that maybe we should all hit the sheets again and not deal with this shit right this minute, you know?

It took 60 firefighters until 5:30 a.m. to control the flooding, but there are still plenty of issues this morning. The Metropolitan Transit Authority warns that the B, C, D, F, M, and Q lines are all delayed or rerouted; you can check here for the latest. Seriously, check it before you leave the house. Everything is crazy.

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It's Finally Time to Start Fixing the R Train After Sandy... For Over a Year (UPDATED)

Second maybe to the A train in the Rockaways, the damage wrecked by Hurricane Sandy to the Montague Tunnel was devastating: The underground tunnel beneath the Brooklyn Bridge witnessed the worst flooding of any line in the city, leaving the R train out of commission for nearly a month and a half after the storm made landfall. And, now, a little over six months later, the MTA has begun repairs.

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The Subway Homeless Rate Rises As More Unsheltered Go Underground

We've been hit with two incredibly significant statistics of Gotham income's reality over the past few months. First, the homelessness levels in this city right now are that of the Great Depression. And second, half of New Yorkers live in or near poverty. Now that we're settled into the situation here, let us move on.

City statistics show that the rate of homeless people sleeping on the subways rose by 13 percent this year - a steady increase underground that has unfortunately gone on for some time now. In 2005, the approximation was around 845; eight years later, that number is around 1,850. Above ground, the homeless population sleeping on the streets dropped by a mere 2 percent.

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New G Train Ridership Stats Prove Why a Full Line Review Is Needed ASAP

A few months ago, we learned that the MTA would bow to the demands of everyone and finally take a look at the dreaded G train. You know, the Crosstown Express, the green one, the one that comes whenever the hell it wants. A full line review and decision will come in July and, if yesterday's news is any sign, there's no better time for this subway to get a makeover.

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What Should the MTA Do With $30 Million From Albany?

We all know the MTA's wallets are running thin, even amid record-high ridership. The recent fare hike and the fact that major project proposals are tripping over price tags are more than enough indication that the authority is handling the city's transportation on a slim budget.

So the news of a major cash injection from Governor Cuomo couldn't come sooner.

Yesterday, the Albany chieftain announced that the MTA would be getting $40 million more than it requested in state funds. In total, this fiscal year is witnessing an increase in transit aid across the state by about $360 million; most of which has come from the toll hike that has taken effect.

With that money, the MTA is proposing to set up a fund to better serve customers with all this new cash. The coming changes will not be released until July, when the agency releases its official budget. But, until then, we can speculate just what exactly the MTA should be working on to make sure the lives of New Yorkers are a bit less frantic.

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MTA, subways

An Express F Train May Be in the Near Future for Brooklyn

In August 2012, the Straphangers Campaign gave the F train a $1.40 grade, which is basically a B+ or a C-. The score was given based on cleanliness, breakdowns, and service--and, for the F train, this grade is generous. The line between Culver and Jamaica-179th Street is known for its long waits; if you decide to take it after midnight, best of luck to you.

But there is hope on the horizon for disgruntled commuters.

Yesterday, at a City Council budget hearing, the New York City Office of Management and Budget announced that the MTA will be conducting a review of the F train this summer once work is finished on the Culver Viaduct. The inspection could result in good news for all--an express F in Brooklyn; something that hasn't happened since 1987.

Except the proposal might not be as great as it sounds. The F train has a limited amount of trains on its line--hence the delays--so if it does become express, the trains will be distributed to either local or express routes. Also, the stops that used to be on the express line aren't exactly the most used ones. Obviously, much has changed in South Brooklyn in the past 26 years.

Oh, and the MTA doesn't have that much money. But we already know that.

But the news comes right after we heard the G train is getting its full line review as well. So we're keeping our fingers crossed.


These New Teen Pregnancy Ads on the Subway Are Something Else

New York City Department of Social Services
Only Nick Kroll's pet plastic surgery ad for Comedy Central's Kroll Show has this beat.

Today, ads in the same vein as the one seen on the right will pop up on subways everywhere. Their main theme: Fifty percent of teenagers do not understand the seriousness of pregnancy at such an early age. And, as you can see, they're bound to grab any viewer's immediate attention. We guess that's advertising at its core, right?

The campaign is the latest from the NYC Department of Social Services to address the issue of teen pregnancy. It will be followed with a YouTube video series later this month as well as an informational text message program for young adults. In both, the Health Department will attempt to reiterate that message.

The new ads rides off the recent controversy brewing over the city's CATCH program. This initiative (increasingly) places Plan B and birth control in the hands of public school health workers, naturally infuriating the parents of students subject to the in-school contraceptives.

But that story parallels the news that teen pregnancy has dropped more than 27 percent in New York City over the past decade. Although the numbers split drastically by borough and race, Health Commissioner Tom Farley pointed to two reasons for the overall decline: Teenagers are having less sex and using more protection.

And, now, there might be a third: that these ads will scare the living daylights of kids everywhere.

You can check out the whole collection here.


At Emergency Subway Death Hearing, Transport Union Says MTA Too Cheap to Save Lives

Representatives from the city's Transport Workers Union say that the solutions to reducing subway deaths are simple, but the MTA doesn't want to spend the money.

At yesterday's emergency hearing on subway deaths called by city councilman James Vacca, the MTA unveiled a large-scale public education campaign to combat platform-edge related deaths at subway stations. The heinous December platform murders of Sunando Sen at a station in Sunnyside, Queens and Ki-Suk Han in Times Square brought increased awareness to an even larger issue.

The campaign is aimed at reducing the number of deaths, 54, which occurred last year as a result of riders being killed by trains.

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