September 24, 2007
MTA mind games
For the last few months, bloggers, online petitioners and editorial writers have been tussling over whether adding an express train to Brooklyn's F subway line makes sense. While the MTA itself has recently claimed they want to be responsive to their riders and might consider adding express trains if their work on the above-ground part of the line doesn't happen as quickly as planned, it looks like they're trying some sneaky negotiating tactics to make the demands go away.
First they tried to suggest that riders were wrong to want an express train in the first place, since they would only save 4 minutes by skipping stops in Brooklyn. To test the actual time saved on another express/local line, the Post sent its staff to ride from 125th St to the Brooklyn Bridge on the express 4 train and on the local 6. The journeys took exactly the same amount of time--33 minutes.
Great news for the MTA! They might actually succeed in dissuading riders from wanting an express train if they can convince them that their service is so erratic and bad that express trains are just as slow as locals.
Today, NYC Transit's senior director of service planning pulls a great Jedi mind trick in response to these findings. She reasons to the Post: "There is a psychological benefit to bypassing stops."
See, even though express trains don't actually save you any time, the MTA is feeding its riders delicious sugar pills that keep them blissfully placated in a delusion of efficiency while they crawl along their beloved "express" track, slow but happy. Clever tactic--make riders feel like morons for wanting a service that you'll admit doesn't provide any real benefits, until they eventually stop asking for it.
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