Is there anything more annoying than that person on the Q train during rush hour who whips out a cell phone as the train spends three minutes crossing the Manhattan Bridge? You know who I’m talking about; it’s the person shouting seemingly to themselves as they rush to make a call that could wait until they get off 8 minutes later at Atlantic Ave.
Just think if that person could spend their entire subway commute yapping into their phone. That at least was the plan in 2005. But since then, little to no progress has been made, and The New York Sun reports today that the plan may be dead in its tracks. Here’s what outgoing MTA chair Peter Kalikow had to say:
The chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Peter Kalikow, said yesterday that he was “not sure” if the agency would complete a deal with one of the four service providers who have submitted bids for the project. “I would hope they’ll come back to use with a revised bid doing it the way we like,” Mr. Kalikow said following an Assembly oversight hearing on the MTA yesterday.
So, Mr. Kalikow, what way might be the way you like? Well, that’s to limit cell phone conversations to the stations only. And why don’t cell companies like that? Money, of course.
Cell phone service providers bidding on the project say wiring stations and not tunnels is cost-ineffective. Phone conversations on subway platforms are too short to bring in any real money.
The cash cow would be the long subway ride that allows for a more substantial use of cell phone minutes.
It would cost millions of dollars to wire the subway stations, and the average conversation would probably last all of two minutes. Luckily, in this case, the economics don’t work, and those riders who just want to find some last solace from the neverending cell phone din can still take refuge in the subways.