Where: The Church Ave.-bound G platform at Metropolitan Ave.
When: Thursday, February 24, 2011 at around 8:00 p.m.
When the MTA unveiled their new signs in December, the rebranding effort was sure to be met with a certain public skepticism. It’s easy to say that the MTA is improving, non-stop, but it’s much harder to show. With fares on the raise at the end of 2010 and services scaled back six months earlier, straphangers aren’t feeling too good about the state of their transit network.
Over the past few days, I’ve seen the sign praising the MTA’s construction workers with the tagline “Improvements don’t just happen” vandalized in numerous ways. Mostly, clever commuters cut out the word “just,” and the new message is clear. New Yorkers, frustrated with the MTA, think improvements aren’t happening, period. A more obscene edit gets that point across.
In a sense, it’s a short-sighted zinger. Over the past 25 years, we’ve seen new subway connections into Queens open up; we’ve seen the Manhattan Bridge overhauled; we’ve seen the onset of MetroCards, reduced fare options and free subway-to-bus transfers; we’ve seen a near-total overhaul of the MTA’s rolling stock; and a slow-moving State of Good Repair program inch forward. We have countdown clocks in over 100 stations, and now, we’re seeing a part of the Second Ave. Subway move toward a Phase 1 conclusion. Progress is there, but it’s slow.
On the other hand, progress is slow, and we’ve seen the system slide back a bit lately. Stations are dirtier, and station agents have become an endangered species. The give-and-take between capital improvements and daily maintenance leaves many frustrated.
That said, I don’t think New Yorkers will be satisfied with the subways until the trains arrive constantly, there’s always a seat, no one is ever delayed and the fares decrease. Perhaps promoting improvements is a losing battle no matter what happens underground.