Many of us rely on the MTA for our mode of transportation. Whether we use the buses, the subways or both, we are somewhat at the mercy of the Transit Authority when it comes to our commuting experience. Luckily, there is an organization that takes great effort in providing a critical analysis of the MTA’s transportation network. NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group) has been running a Straphangers Campaign for over 10 years, where they release a report card on the various subway lines based on the following criteria:
- Amount of service – scheduled amount of service
- Dependability of service – % of trains arriving at scheduled time, breakdown rate
- Comfort/usability – chance of getting a seat, interior cleanliness, adequacy of in-car announcements
Based on how well a particular line does in these areas, NYPIRG gives the line a grade from A to F. I was contemplating these criteria, and felt that they fall just short of what should determine a subway line’s quality. Depending on where you’re going and how long your commute is, you are a captive customer which I am sure is something the MTA realizes when they contemplate the advertising they plaster all over their property. I’ve often looked at the ads, some that have run in one form or another since I first moved to the city over 8 years ago, as a nuisance and a contributing factor to how comfortable my commute is.
I believe that NYPIRG’s Straphangers should include an evaluation of the advertisements in subways, buses and stations. Perhaps the following criteria could be considered:
- % of ads that are Public Service Announcements for MTA policies
- % of ads that are timely or out of date
- % of ads that are inappropriate for the typical audience a particular line serves
This last one is particular important because the MTA acts as a proxy school bussing system, and i wonder how many parents would approve of the Department of Education consenting to let beer companies advertise on the big yellow buses.