Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Very First Consumer Complaint

Last Saturday, I went out for drinks and hookah with a good college friend and her boyfriend in Alphabet City. Great times were had, but we parted ways at around 1 am when I boarded the train back to Brooklyn. Reasonable hour right? Thought I'd be home at around quarter till 2. Except, I didn’t get home until half past 3 because train service was a complete mess. Sure the trains have wreaked havoc plenty of times, but Sunday morning I wrote my very first consumer complaint.

Here is a snippet of what I wrote the good folks over at MTA:
Last night, A Train service to Brooklyn was absolutely ridiculous. As I understand it, A trains were supposed to be running express into Brooklyn, and local to Manhattan. Well, I took the train express to Norstrand to get on a Manhattan bound A train to Franklin, only to have that train go express too. I asked several MTA employees about the gaffe in the schedule and they were perplexed as well, telling me to wait for a bus. I'm not waiting at a bus stop at 3 in the morning, that is utterly unsafe. And unfortunately I only had credit cards on me and there were no ATMS around so I couldn't get cash and call a taxi, so I got back on a Queens bound A Train at Hoyt, got off at Norstrand, again, and walked about five minutes at an extremely inappropriate hour to get to my apartment.
MTA needs to get their act together, this is completely inexcusable.

Miss MT-to the-A took time out of her busy schedule and wrote back to me this morning:
We sincerely apologize for any inconveniences you have experienced due to recent delays in service. Despite our best efforts to maintain regularly scheduled service, delays, reroutes and service diversions can sometimes occur for a variety of reasons, including track rehabilitation work, mechanical malfunctions, equipment failure, and police or emergency service activity, among other causes. Nevertheless, we have referred your e-mail to supervision in the appropriate operating department for review. In addition, we have asked our Division of Operations Planning to review the operating schedule on the A line to ensure that the current level of service is reflective of customer demand.

As you know, bus and subway service information is available through our website at When scheduled service is interrupted, a blinking "Transit Alert" link is posted to the homepage of our website. Our website is updated once a week on Fridays, for planned and scheduled changes. In addition, emergency updates take place on an "as needed" basis. For information regarding planned service advisories, we recommend you use the "Service Advisories" feature or visit the link below:

You may be interest to know that Trip Planner is a new web-based service from MTA New York City Transit that gives you directions about how to get from one place to another using New York’s subways and buses. Visit the Trip Planner pages here- . A variety of information and options are available to you depending on your travel needs and preferences. From train and bus schedules to step-by-step instructions that bring you from your starting point to your destination, Trip Planner also provides service alerts and advisories to give you the ability to plan ahead so you’ll know exactly what to do before you head out.

Otherwise, please note that bus and subway service along with travel itineraries within New York City may also be obtained by calling our Travel Information Center at (718) 330-1234, from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., 7 days a week, where customer service representatives are available. Please have a pen and paper ready, provide each starting point, destination and the approximate time you will be traveling.

Several problems arise with the above response:

If I am stuck underground for two and a half hours, what computer am I supposed to be checking to find out said service changes?

This hotline that is mentioned, the one that is open to calls from 6am to 10 pm, would it be of use to me at 3am in the morning?

You’re living foul MTA. Living. Foul.

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