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Thursday, August 17, 2006


Subway Retardness

What's all these silly "Tap Here" devices in all Metro stations? For sure, they must serve a purpose but MTA is so idiotic that it leads people to believe they're supposed to tap their tickets on these devices. There's nothing, certainly not with clarity, that informs transit riders of the nature of these stationed machines. It's not a threat to our survival, but it's so unprofessional. When buildings are about to be constructed, you see signs indicating that. It's not as though people would die if they didn't, but it's just a sense of basic courtesy to inform others what's going on. MTA can't even do it for their ridiculous "tap" machines, but rather let them stand there to confuse people.

Another inane thing about the subway stations are the scrolling displays that instead of displaying the time for upcoming trains, keep displaying these security messages, and notes about some broken escalator. If an escalator doesn't work at some particular Metro station, good that they inform people about it. But just don't use the only electronic display in the entire station, where the most intuitive thing to look for is time display for the next train. But MTA and times/schedules is among the worst in the world.
For 10 years-plus now, L.A. MTA hasn't figured out that scrolling electronic displays are for reporting schedules, or, duh, just any information that is of immediate interest to the greatest amount of people. A broken escalator might be of crucial interest to about 10 people each hour, whereas most riders are able and can walk the stairs if necessary. Same with the security messages. Put up permanent posters that get time to sink in, rather than wasting the screen display estates. As good as the subway is, there's still a lot of confusion. People have no clue when the next train is arriving, or where it's going to, as colors, signs, all look the same for all destinations, and are placed in no particular order.
Most developed subway systems prioritize time and schedule for main information display. Not arbitrary, even stupid, messages like those telling parents to look out for their children at subway stations. Duh, please. For some reason the MTA thinks parents need to be reminded of their parental responsibility at the subway station, never mind that most people who are in a station at any given time aren't parents or don't have kids.
And sometimes some voice announces some highly arbitrary message over the mike, such as reminding people of not eating or drinking in the stations. Like, once a day or so. There's no consistency, and sometimes the message is in Spanish. Well, for whatever reason, MTA is the most unprofessional public transit agency in the developed world. I'd bet they are. They don't even seem to look at others for ideas, but go their own stubborn ways until things get stuck and don't work well.

MTA likes to not inform people. It's as though "be happy you've got these new tap machines, now shutup and go ride the train". Oh, also, the escalator at the west end entrance to the pershing square station might not be working. Now several thousands know it, but they don't know when the next train will arrive.

The TAP readers are being installed and tested for when Metro goes to the electronic "smart card" system for passes.

There are already test cards in use, and all MTA employee and governing official badges already work on the readers.

The new bus fareboxes also have TAP readers in test mode now.





You must contact 1-800-COMMUTE (from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday).
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