The Oil Drum: New York City

Helping New Yorkers understand, prepare and adapt to the implications of Peak Oil

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Mass Transit to Shea

As New Yorkers, Mass transit is and will become increasingly important to the sustainable economic future of the city. Improving the quality of that mass transit system is critical to weaning people of cars and taxis. The more people that start using mass transit now, the easier it will be to justify expansion of the system to more areas.

Today I took a fairly circuitous route to Shea Stadium to see the Mets beat Atlanta 8-1 in the first victory I saw this year. Let's Go Mets!

I live near the 86th Street subway station and usually take a little known shortcut using the E express train from 53rd Street & Lex to Broadway in Queens and then switch to the 7 train, thus saving many local stops on the 7 train. Anyway, today there were many frustrated people trying to figure out their route since the local 6 train was running on the express track. This affected me too since the connection to the E train relies on the local 6 train. Instead I took the express to Grand Central and doubled back to the connection to the E train and continued on my way.

There are a few lessons the MTA could learn from this story:

First, communication is the key to customer satisfaction - the frustration people felt was more because they didn't know what alternatives existed. The signs that were posted were inadequate, and the poor token booth guy was overwhelmed with people asking questions.

Second, "an educated consumer is your best customer" doesn't just apply to retail! I breezed through the chaos because I knew the drill and could easily navigate my way without much time lost.

Third, people really like the option of choosing between local and express trains. I avoided the 7 train because for some reason they don't run express trains to Shea Stadium on the weekends. So instead, i have to find a loophole in the express E train even though it means 2 transfers instead of one. This should be a no-brainer to simply run express trains to large events like a baseball game during times before and after the game.


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