Before I swipe my Metrocard, I am handed a pamphlet by an official-looking man in a burgundy vest. The pamphlet is just as official-looking — plain, white cardstock with black type.


Tell us what you think about your subway line.

This is the first such survey done by the MTA in its 100-year history. The Straphangers Campaign, a non-profit organization started in 1979 when times were bleak for the subways and New York City in general, has been conducting rider report cards for years. But the MTA needs to do something to justify its latest quest for another fare increase. If they get their way, the fare will jump to $2.40 per ride from $2.00 over the next two years, still pretty cheap by most metro standards.

According to the the last Straphangers Campaign survey, the 2 line ties for fifteenth place out of the 22 subway lines in the system. The B train, the line I gave up on because it is always Mardi Gras-crowded, ranked 20 out of 22. Yet the survey showed the line’s one saving grace is that it’s the system’s cleanest. Really? I guess these respondents have never sat next to a bag of half-eaten chicken bones tucked discreetly under a seat for hours so the putrid stench initiates an immediate gag reflex.

And that’s sort of the problem with these kinds of surveys. Usually the people who fill them out have grievances they want to air. Add to that the survey is being done in New York City, a place where people live to kvetch, and you quickly realize that an honest answer is more likely to be had at an OJ Simpson trial.

I suppose these report cards have some benefit; I’ll throw in my two cents. But it seems a waste of money to go to all of this trouble when I can simply tell the MTA what the riders want: short waits, clean train cars, and understandable announcements. Oh, and how about not having my local train zip on by my stop without giving me advance notice so I can get off beforehand?

I know. I know. You give ’em an inch…

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