With MetroCard ads come confused straphangers

By · Published in 2012

As we enter an era in which ads decorate the fronts of MetroCards, the law of unintended consequences has taken over. Without familiar markings or arrows leading the way forward, those straphangers unfamiliar with the basic how-to’s of a MetroCard are having trouble navigating the ad-covered cards. DNA Info’s Jill Colvin tracked down some confused tourists to get their takes on the situation.

Generally, European tourists seemed to be the ones most confused at Herald Square by the Gap cards. “We struggled a bit,” one Norwegian vistori said. “If there was ‘This way’ showing the direction,” things would be easier, the tourist said to Colvin. Some New Yorkers too were questioning the need to take away visual directions.

The MTA, meanwhile, said it was still too early to know just how confusing the redesigned cards are but pledged to keep an eye on the matter. “We’ll continue to monitor and evaluate,” MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said. “It’s an evolving program.” As I noted on Monday, future ad campaigns will have to work around the word “MetroCard” on the backs of the cards, but the direction exhorting users to “Insert this way/This side facing you” isn’t there to help.

Categories : Asides, MetroCard

9 Responses to “With MetroCard ads come confused straphangers”

  1. John says:

    This is why we need smart cards like everyone else.

  2. BrooklynBus says:

    There is no reason why they can’t have the ads along with a small MTA logo and the words MetroCard along with the directions on how to swipe. All MetroCards also do not have to look the same. In Chicago, a 3 day pass has a big 3 on it. A 7 day pass has a 7 and a 30 day pass a large 30. All are accompanied by a famous building or street scene.

  3. Anon says:

    The blind have been able to just fine. the Metrocards are cut in the corner so that it is understood which way to swipe.

  4. Nathanael says:

    I had trouble figuring out which direction to swipe last week when visiting NYC (and I forget *every single time*). See, there’s a corner cut out — so obviously that’s the direction which goes through first, right?

    Nope. MTA standards are contrary to and backwards from my instinct.

  5. vb says:

    Why can’t they just keep the “Insert this way/this side facing you” text with the arrows and just sell the top part as the ad space? Or at least keep the arrows. Allowing something to be used as an ad space doesn’t mean that they have to get rid of all their normal branding / appearance.

  6. Someone says:

    I just got a new pay-per-ride Metrocard that had the logo of Metrocard on it. So, this only applies to unlimited Metrocards then?

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