MetroCard Vending Machines Can Add To Commuting Time
Thousands of people take the subway every day to get from one destination to another. Public transportation is very important in New York City. Taking public transportation is an easy thing to do. All you need to do is get a MetroCard, swipe it and go anywhere you want.
Unfortunately one problem delays many journeys—the vending machines that sell the cards. Every station is equipped with a certain number of machines. In addition, subway stations often have more than one exit, and usually every exit has at least one card vending machine. Nor is using the machines rocket science, so you do not have to be a genius. What drives people up the wall sometimes is the fact that very often the machines do not work. Usually the machines present three options of paying for a MetroCard: cash, a bank ATM or debit card or a credit card. However, many times one or more machines can be defective or demand exact change or accept only one form of currency, bills or coins or even accept no currency at all, but allow the purchase of MetroCards only by credit cards. Especially hardpressed by these stipulations are seniors and tourists, but commuters are affected, too. How often have you rushed to the subway to go to work only to lose time because a machine displays “No Bills Accepted At This Time”? Not everyone walks around with credit cards. Granted, often an MTA worker in a booth can provide the same services, but only cash is accepted, and the line is usually so long that purchasing a MetroCard from a person instead of a machine can make a commuter arrive at work later still.
We took the R train from Queens Plaza all the way to Forest Hills to see how many machines were either defective or provided only limited service. We checked out every single stop and discovered that machines at four different stops were either broken or accepted only cash or exact change. Northern Boulevard, Elmhurst Avenue, Woodhaven Boulevard and 63rd Drive all had one or more machines that did not work efficiently. To see if this was an ongoing problem, or whether the machines would be repaired in a timely manner, we repeated the same experiment the following week. Once again, at four different stations, machines were providing only limited service. Some of those stations also had closed booths, so no one was available to help with the problem. Three of the stations were the same as the prior week, the difference being the fourth station, 46th Street, where one out of three machines was accepting only bills and there was no MTA attendant in the station. There was no notice posted as to whether the token booth was open at certain times or closed permanently.