If subways are delayed almost every day, something’s wrong.

I hear this almost every day:

We are delayed because of train traffic ahead! Please be patient.

Or this:

We are delayed because of a sick passenger at Canal Street. Please be patient.

I see this on my Twitter at least once a day:

I get stuck on a train for 10 minutes a stop before where ever I’m going almost every day.

And it’s certainly not just me. So MTA, we’re tired of hearing it. It’s not helpful to provide delay verifications and ‘calming’ explanatory announcements; to customers it just sounds like you’re trying to mask clear inefficiencies and gaps in service. If something is always failing, then it’s broken, and it’s not daily incidentals causing it to fail.

So, stop giving us a load of you-know-what that we don’t want to hear. It’s like putting acid on an open wound. How about taking steps to fix it? I know there are budgetary constraints, but figure out how to deal with sick passengers and weather because guess what…those variables will always be there!

I’m not just complaining for the sake of it; if contacted for a focus group or working group on this, I would gladly show up. I challenge you to make it happen.

MTA. This is all well and good, but perpetual delays (ie more mornings than not) aren’t excuses for being late (employees should just count on it and leave earlier). I hate being late for anything, especially work, but even leaving early and planning ahead doesn’t solve the problem of your unreliability. So, you’re clearly not solving the problem of commuting, and your tweeting just sort of seems like a failed bandaid. But thanks for the late note anyway; you may just want to change the date to “always”.

A Nice NYC Subway Moment (yes, for real)

So often, I get ticked off at people selfishly taking up too much bench space, lecturing passengers about Jesus and our sins, people who lean on polls, people who think they can stand without holding anything and then bang into everyone, racists, pricks who exist just to be pricks, and subway littering.

BUT, today, I experienced for the third time in the last 2 months the most fantastic subway ride ever. I take the 2 train to work every morning and ride it about 11 minutes for 7 stops. It’s generally a lot of hustle bustle, and everyone’s heading to work while still trying to finish their morning rituals like reading the paper or drinking their coffee or applying make-up. There’s a train operator who adds something intangible to the morning though, when at my Bergen St. stop, he greets passengers “Good Morning Brooklyn!!!!” This morning, he announced completely sincerely:

It’s the holiday season folks! do your shopping, eat some food, but most importantly, don’t forget to smile! It will make your day!

Everyone nervously smiled, but smiled nonetheless. As eye contact was made, the smiles got bigger. Some people had seemed to hear this before, others were wide-eyed with extreme wonderment. As with the other 2 times I had this particular train operator, and only at that moment and those 2 other times, not a single person was scowling or otherwise distracted.

It’s great. He continued to converse (just the right amount) over the course of the 7 stops, once to tell us to walk, not run, across the platform to the express train, but a little bounce in the step would be advised, and another time to remind us that the station was extremely narrow and to please be aware of other people.

This man seriously makes my day. If more people at least appeared to genuinely enjoy their job, and paid good vibes forward with smiles, I can’t help but think we’d have a happier city and world.