This man wants your views on the subways. Let’s give it to him. (Photo by Joe Fornabaio for The New York Times)
Roberts, who came up with this plan because he, like everyone else, complains about the subways, will hand out report cards this summer to riders on the 7 train. The cards will come with prepaid postage and will request that riders evaluate everything from security to cleanliness to timeliness If this pilot effort is successful, the City’s other subway lines will find themselves up for grading in the fall.
But who wants to wait until fall? Let’s get to the grading!
Timeliness: During rush hour, the subways run often. There’s always a train when I want one. But try getting anywhere late at night or on the weekends. Even the MTA’s own service advisory Website doesn’t know which trains are running express, which are running local and which aren’t running at all. And don’t even get me started on the presence or lack thereof of the G train, the delays on the L line and the headaches of getting anywhere on the N line late at night.
Cleanliness: Gross. The unidentified sticky stuff on the seats and the floors, the scattered newspapers, the graffiti, the strange ickiness of the poles: This all adds up to not clean. And we shouldn’t forget about the stations. Black gum spots dot even the newest of platforms, sewage leaks from corroded pipes and green-brown water fills up the track bed as newspapers, umbrellas, batteries, free newspapers and just about everything else float by. Also, rats.
Public Address Announcements: Fkaliecd idjkcdke ckdieudka kdkfssdco epskdclw standclearcloshingdoorkadkfie kdiufke. Dkjslk dfiue redsignaldksjdi urkc ieplskiem ckakshhhhhh. Esidkqp dkcndk390 kdjxkcmd. Nextstopdk ieukcalep. Exactly.
Security: Howard Roberts wants us to grade security. So here’s your A, Howard. The subways haven’t been attacked yet and those annoyingly loud reminders to check myself (before I wreck myself) and watch my belongings has stopped countless terrorists from planting anything in my stuff. But then again, officials seem to disagree with my grade, and no one thinks the subways receive enough anti-terrorism funds. But, hey, if you see something, say something! Go get ’em, Tiger. (P.S. The subways are not safe for little children. Breakdancers attack them. If you click on one link in this post, follow that one. Great YouTube video there.)
Responsiveness of Employees: This is another category Roberts requested. Really, Howard, let’s not go there. Last year, your agency was sued because a station clerk saw a rape but stayed in the booth and did nothing. This seems to be a common occurrence. Also, your employees never know anything about which trains are running and when. Needs improvement.
Comfort: Based on the number of homeless people I see sleeping on the trains these days, those hard plastic seats must be pretty comfortable. So this one gets an A+! That’s something the MTA has right: Subway trains make great beds.
So there you go, Howard. Your first report card. You can get better grades if you make trains arrive as soon as I get down to the platform, clean up a bit and fix those public address speakers. You may want to do something about all of the people who reside in the subway cars overnight, but that’s your call. Good luck.