Absurd New York #129

Sprinting like hell for a train, most of us have probably been bamboozled by a turnstile or two that doesn’t recognize a fully loaded MetroCard or thinks we’ve “JUST USED” it at another station. You can swipe all your want, but all you get back is a punch in the gut. You’re sweaty, delirious, and “better luck next time” being punctual for work. 

The MTA’s vending machines are equally confounding. Take the experience of Clayton Guse, a transit reporter for the Daily News. He recently shared a familiar sounding adventure on Twitter:




Screenshot courtesy of Clayton Guse's Twitter account. August 15, 2020.



Ah, yes, the “Temporarily… No Credit Cards Accepted” message, often paired with its “Temporarily… No Debit Cards Accepted” partner for maximum vexation. Most people related to what Mr. Guse wrote, all but one:




Screenshot courtesy of Sarah Feinberg's Twitter account. August 16, 2020.



So who is Sarah Feinberg anyway? A troll, a bot, one of Mr. Guse’s friends giving him a hard time? No, she’s actually the MTA’s Interim President of New York City Transit — as in the boss of the city’s subways and busses. 

So instead of apologizing for her agency’s faulty equipment, she responded with snark instead. And then blamed the customer for raising the issue. 

How about reaching out to Mr. Guse to learn more about what happened, offering him a free 30-Day Pass for the inconvenience, or announcing that she’s leaving the office to check out of few of those fritzing machines for herself instead? 

Any of those replies would be more in line with her agency’s current customer service mission, the one that reads


Our customers should be at the heart of every decision we make, and they should see concrete improvements that directly address their needs. 


Sure, Ms. Feinberg’s suggestions that Mr. Guse “walk to the next station” or “go to an ATM” are valid, but has she ever attempted to do either of those during rush hour? How about between the hours 1:00 and 5:00 AM? Has she even considered the impact her broken machines have on the elderly, handicapped, or otherwise impaired New Yorkers trying to use them? 

If Ms. Feinberg can mock a reporter’s experience so easily in public, imagine what she says about the concerns of her “customers” in private. 




(1) Screenshot by Rick Stachura. Courtesy of Clayton Guse’s Twitter feed. August 15, 2020. 

(2) Screenshot by Rick Stachura. Courtesy of Sarah Feinberg’s Twitter feed. August 16, 2020.




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